What Does The Bible Say About Disciplining Children

The Bible has much to say about the issue of disciplining children. Proverbs 13:24 says, “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him”. This clearly indicates that Biblical principles suggest that parents should use discipline to maintain order and teach children right from wrong.

However, discipline should not be confused with abuse. Many experts agree that, as with other Christian teachings, discipline is best administered with love and understanding. In “Effective Discipline for Children”, a guide written by the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is recommended that discipline should be applied according to the development and stage of the child, and with positive reinforcement.

The Bible encourages parents to set boundaries and make expectations clear, as well as to take appropriate action when children disobey or misbehave. Parents are exhorted to show patience, mercy, and understanding and to avoid harsh comments, threats or the use of physical force when disciplining children.

In Deuteronomy 6, Moses instructs parents to impress God’s Law upon their children. This could include teaching them the Ten Commandments and also reading them stories from the Bible. Parents should also be careful to model Christian behavior before their children, to show them how they should live.

There are many examples in the Bible of parents teaching their children important lessons. For example, the story of Jacob and Rebekah teaches us that children should be helped to develop their own moral convictions and to resist peer pressure. Abraham is another example of a father who practiced good discipline: He taught his children that obedience to God was the highest priority, even at personal cost.

In conclusion, the Bible suggests that disciplining children should be done with love and understanding. While it is essential for parents to maintain order, the key is to help children learn to differentiate between right and wrong, and to resist peer pressure, in a caring and supportive way.

Family Discipline

The Bible also suggests that parents should include the entire family whenDisciplining children and teaching them right from wrong. For instance, Leviticus 19 instructs parents to treat all members of the family, including young children, with love and respect.

In the New Testament, the apostle Paul encourages parents “to bring up [their] children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). This implies that discipline should be a collective effort, with parents and other family members working together to foster obedience and good character in children.

Moreover, the Bible plainly states that parents should not provoke their children into anger (Ephesians 6:4). This means that, when disciplining children, parents should not use tactics that may be disrespectful, unjust or harsh. Instead, they should establish and reinforce family rules that all members must abide by.

The Bible also encourages family members to discuss disagreements and conflicts in a respectful manner. It is important for parents to demonstrate to their children that disagreements can be resolved in a civil way, without the use of force.


The Bible does not condone harsh punishments that are disproportionate to the offense. In Numbers 12:13, God shows mercy to Miriam when she is punished for speaking against Moses. This passage shows us that even when children do wrong, punishments should be tempered with mercy and kindness.

The Bible also states that children should be held accountable for their actions and learn to accept responsibility. In Proverbs 22:15, we are told that “foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” This implies that parents should use discipline to help children learn right from wrong and develop self-control.

Disciplining children is a difficult but necessary task for any parent. Biblical principles state that parents should use discipline to teach children respect and obedience and to instill in them important values that will help guide them in life.

Corrective Discipline

The Bible also encourages the concept of corrective discipline: using clear and consistent expectations and consequences to help children learn to make good choices. In Proverbs 29:17, we are told that “correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your soul.”

When a child does something wrong, parents should take the time to explain why their behavior was unacceptable and offer guidance on how to correct the behavior in the future. An emphasis should be placed on positive reinforcement, so that children will be encouraged to repeat positive actions.

Striking or hitting a child should never be appropriate or acceptable. In Ephesians 6:4, parents are told to “bring [their] children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” This implies that parents should discipline their children without resorting to physical punishment.

Forgiveness And mercy

The Bible also encourages parents to show kindness and forgiveness when disciplining children. Matthew 18:12-14 tells the parable of the father who shows mercy to his son who ran away, despite the fact that he had wronged him. This story is a reminder that parents should extend mercy and forgiveness to their children, even when they make mistakes.

Proverbs 23:13-14 tells us that a father should not be angry with his children, nor should he “punish them with severity”, but should nurture them in love. Parents should also strive to understand why a child may be acting a particular way and seek to help them work through any underlying issues.

Thus, the Bible encourages a style of discipline that is compassionate and understanding and aimed at teaching a child how to make good decisions in life.

Modeling Good Behavior

Finally, the Bible suggests that parents should model good behavior to their children. Proverbs 22:6 tells us that “train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Parents should demonstrate respect and obedience to authorities, both inside and outside of the home. This includes showing kindness and consideration to others, exhibiting self-control and temperance, and speaking thoughtfully and respectfully.

Moreover, parents should strive to be consistent in their behaviors and words, so that children learn to respect themselves and others. Teaching children the value of honesty and integrity is also very important, and parents should strive to live by these values themselves.

By modeling positive behavior and instilling values in children, parents can instill in them a stronger sense of morality and help them develop into responsible adults.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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