What Does the Bible Say About Parenting

What's Covered

Have you seen a kid who scolded a pastor? A family attended a small church where children commonly sit with their parents during the service. The mother was very proud of her three-year-old son because he was so attentive. In the middle of the preaching, the preacher, which happens to be his grandfather, began to raise his voice to emphasize his key points. The little kid stood to his feet and shouted, “Calm down Pops!” Everyone burst into laughter.

Parenting Roles in the Bible

Here comes the news of your wife having a baby. The first thing she tells you and others might be, you are going to be a dad! The thrill and excitement you felt seem to let you reached more than cloud nine. According to the Bible, children are a gift from God, and they are a reward for you (Psalm 127:3). They are an inheritance and a gracious gift from the Lord. From rearing years and beyond, parents have the responsibility to take care of God’s gift to them. Entrusted by God of your child means He called you to be the steward of His creation[1].

Stewardship means taking charge and looking after your child as God’s creation in parenting. Right from the very beginning, God instructed Adam and Eve to manage and nurture everything He created in the garden of Eden. With this very foundation of stewardship, God entrusted to you your child to nurture, guide, care, and love.

As a steward, the Bible tells us about guiding and instructing your child in Proverbs 22:6. Train up your child in the ways and path that he should follow so when he grows, he will not leave it. It is socially, ethically, and biblically correct to teach your child of right conduct, values, and morals. It will imprint such on their system as a person and as your child.

They will know how to respect other people. Their acts are rightful in given situations. They will learn to value relationships with you as a parent and with others as well. Your upbringing to your child as a steward of God matters. Ideally, any parent would love to raise their child in such a way, even without knowing this stewardship thing. But here’s the thing, did you find the time to test yourself of what kind of parent are you to your child? Are you the authoritarian type of parent? Or perhaps a permissive one? Let’s find out what does the Bible says about the kinds of parents and what are the implications of it.

What does the Bible say about the different kinds of parents?

Manipulative, Overbearing, or Controlling Parents

What your child sees in you is what influences them. Based on a study, the manipulative attitude of the parents influences the attitude of the child. It is the driving force that creates the manipulative attitude in the child insert[2]. As a result, the entire household will be in chaos as each only minds their interest and hardly exhibit cooperation towards each other.

Their only concern is the fulfillment of their wants and desires at the expense of others. If this is the type of household your building as a parent, then it will probably crumble in the long run. The Bible says in Proverbs 11:29 that those who cause trouble in their household will inherit nothing. It means that those who mismanage their homes, their family will inherit nothing. Not a good relationship, not a relationship built in trust — nothing.

Aside from abiding by the Words of God, this book from Amazon might help you in resolving a manipulative attitude towards your child by knowing how does it feel to be on the receiving end.

Emotional Blackmail
An awesome book for dealing with people who fear, obligation, and guilt to manipulate. It presents the relationship damage caused by manipulating someone.

Parents showing favoritism

Showing favoritism towards your children can create a big relationship problem between and among siblings. Perceived favoritism among siblings may root from genetic similarities with parents, birth rank, or attitude-related reasons. As one felt the other is more favored, it breeds jealousy, self-insecurity, low self-esteem, and anger towards his other siblings and parents. It affects the family relation and process. Siblings who feel less favored by their parents experience frequent rejection[3], shame, and intense fear[4].

The Bible tells us that God does not show favoritism to anyone (Romans 2:11). We are all equal and precious before His eyes. He does not bless more other people while leaving others on the sideline. This concept should be enough as a good foundation for treating your children equally. God, who is the supreme One, exercises the concept of equality. As His creation, we are ought to follow His ways and example.

Though it’s not a parental book, still this book will help you understand how you unconsciously form biases or favoritism towards your children. It can also be a guide in improving your relationship between and among siblings.

Overcoming Bias
An awesome book for creating authentic relationships with people.    It helps you know how your biases are formed and to overcome them.

Yelling and Nagging Parents

Does this even make you higher in authority towards your child? Does it make you feel better and controlling after seeing your child comply? Yelling and nagging is a common scenario at home, especially if the kids are uncontrollable. However, is it a usual scenario if it happens almost every day?

Such habitual negative behavior towards your child is emotional abuse[5]. Pointing out the incapabilities and mistakes of your child makes them feel not good or competent enough. They feel unloved, unwanted, and worthless in doing things. The Bible says in Proverbs 17:1; it is better to eat a dry crust peacefully than stay in a home full of conflict. Is this the type of home you want your child to get accustomed to and grow? Study shows that nagging creates negative support to your child, which causes them to keep misbehaving[6].

Here is a book that will keep you on track with your child and help you with this issue without yelling and nagging.

How to Talk Series
The perfect book for resolving family issues peacefully and bring more cooperation and collaboration from your children without yelling or shouting. It also helps you build a long and lasting relationship with your child.

Parents who abandon their child

As humans, we do not want to experience being abandoned by someone dear to us. Some parents, either intentionally or not, choose to do such for having their reasons on which the child has nothing to do. Abandonment occurs when a parent leaves his child without regard to his welfare, safety, and health. Parents who abandon their child and with no parental figure to look up to show anxiety and emotional/behavioral difficulties and such behavior escalate in the long run[7]

Now, concerning the Bible, is it a sin to abandon your child? Well, let me ask you, is it a good thing to take care of your child? Of course, yes! James 4:17 says if you know it is a good thing to do and you did not do it, you have sinned. Going back to your biblical parenting role, you are a steward of God. God has entrusted to you your child, and therefore you ought to cherish, love, and care for your child. The moment you abandon your child, you also fail to fulfill your purpose as a steward of God.

Below is a book from Amazon that talks about a true story of an abandoned child and his struggle for emotional survival.

They Cage the Animals at Night
It is a sad but inspiring book for understanding the emotional impact of abandoning a child. It will help you know the struggles, neglect, and abuse an abandoned child could experience.

Toxic Parents

Toxic parents are those who dominantly and consistently inflict negative patterns of behavior and harm towards their child[8]. As a result, the adverse effects of such will spread throughout their lives as they grow. Inflicted negative behavior will cause damaged self-esteem that eventually leads to self-destructive behaviors. It will influence and play an enormous role in their engagement with others and relationships in the future. 

A toxic parent provokes their child to inhibit undesirable behaviors. Colossians 3:21 says, do not aggravate your children because it will discourage them. It will make them inferior and frustrated. True enough, because these what toxic parents do. They make homes an awful place. 

Strive not to be a toxic parent to your child. Here is a suggested book from Amazon to help you avoid being a toxic parent.

Toxic Parents
A perfect book for knowing about toxic parents and how to overcome hurtful effects of toxic parenting. It also helps you understand and to break free from strained parent-child relationships.

Overprotective Parents

Parents are generally caring and loving towards their children. They provide the love, care, nourishment, and all other basic needs that a child should receive. As much as possible, parents would not want their child to feel rejected, hurt, unhappy, and experience harm or injury. But as the saying goes, too much of everything or anything is not good.

When you’re too focused on not letting your child feel or experience unwanted things like failing or disappointments, it affects their socio-emotional development[9]. It affects their ability to deal with hurtful and undesirable situations. Being overprotective also discourages your child from developing autonomy and independence in dealing with conflicts and difficult situations.

The Bible says in Ephesians 6:4, do not exasperate your child, but discipline and guide them in the knowledge of God. One of the exasperating you could do to your child is by being overprotective. Allow them to grow and increase in the knowledge of knowing God’s sovereignty in their lives. You can be protective and loving to your child, but there is nothing compared to the divine protection and love from God. 

Below is a book from Amazon that will guide you in the growth and development of your child without being overprotective.

The Gift of Failure
A perfect book for learning how to let go of your child so they can grow, succeed and learn important life skills. An awesome read for raising a resilient, confident and courageous child.

Narcissistic Parents

Based on research, a child with narcissistic parents “accommodate” them by making into realization their parents’ ideal self and life. A narcissistic parent would want his child to fulfill his dream of becoming an engineer, an accountant, or a doctor before. Children with such parents lose the chance of genuine self-actualization[10]. They live someone else’s life to feel and stay connected to them, but only feeling lost and with self-esteem insufficiencies.

The Bible says to honor our father and mother because it is a commandment from the LORD (Deut. 5:16). It is a common practice for children, especially in Christian homes, to obey their parents. But what if it is a burden to them realizing their parents’ dream? Will you, as a parent, still insist on what you want for your child? Colossian 3:21 says, do not provoke your child to anger; otherwise, they will be discouraged. As a reinforcement, 1 Corinthians 8:9 warns you to be careful of your right to others who have a weaker conscience lest you become their stumbling block. As a parent, you have the right to your child because you have to guide them.

However, if you consistently insist on your want for them, without considering the emotional and psychological impact, it will cause and lead to sin. Why? The emotional distress of your child will pile up one after the other. Before you knew it, they are talking back or yelling at you already in disagreement. A child is supposed to obey and submit them to their parents, but talking back is certainly not a part of it. Finally, God said in Matthew 18:6 that those who cause their children to sin are better tied up with a large millstone in their neck and cast down into the deep sea.

Below is a best-selling book from Amazon that will help you understand the impact of emotionally immature parents on the psychological and emotional aspects of a child.

Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents
A perfect book that exposes devastating nature of selfish and immature parents. It also helps to recognize such toxic relationships and offers a healthy path for reconciliation and healing.

How do your words affect your child? A Look on the Scientific and Biblical Side

Dr. Masaru Emoto, a Japanese author, and researcher conducted a rice experiment within 30 days. He proposes that our words and thoughts are powerful, and it sends off vibrations and energy to the outer realm, making such words and thoughts visible in the naked eye. In this experiment, he set up the same three jars, put the same amount of rice, and soaked it with water. He labeled the first jar with thank you, the second, you are an idiot, and finally, the third jar with no label.

He says thank you to the first jar every day; you are an idiot to the second jar and completely ignore the third jar. After a month, the first jar’s rice ferments, giving off a strong and pleasant smell. The second jar was in an awful shape; it turned black while the third one rots. With this experiment, your words as a parent do a great power towards your child.

Words of Affirmation

Almost every one of us needs words of affirmation from those we love and cherish. It lets us know that we’re doing great, and we should keep it up. These words nourish us and encourage us to do more, to do better. It boosts our self-confidence to do things.

Based on a study, parents who are nurturing towards their children show increased implicit self-esteem[11]. They realize they have the support system they need. As a result, they perform well and have a close and right relationship with their parents.

Like the first jar, nurture your child with words of affirmation that will “ferment” them, which will give off a pleasant “aroma” to you and everyone around him. Words of affirmation will enrich and improve the psychological aspect of your child.

The Bible tells us that kind words are like honey; it brings sweetness to the soul and healthy for the body (Proverbs 16:24).  As an adult, I always find it very uplifting in my spirit when someone gives me words of kindness and affirmation. It lightens up the state of my mind and gives me the encouragement that I need. The same can be said to your child. Spiritual upliftment towards your child will have a long and lasting impact not only on his whole being but also on his perception in life.

Words of Negation

Words of negation are words that nobody wants to receive. These are negative statements that no one wants to hear, especially if you’re putting in your best effort into something. These words are words of discouragement, disapproval, and rejection.

 “You’re just simply stupid!”

“You’re a mess!”

“You’re a mistake.”

A child, especially in the early years, receives and perceives these statements as their identity. A child imprints this to his system that they are what their parents are saying about them. From here, they carry it with them as they grow. Research shows a relationship between a negative parenting approach and higher depression, anxiety, and lower self-esteem in adolescent age[12]. There are many other words of negation a parent can say. However, it is not always about what you say but how you say those words that will psychologically damage your child. It is also the feeling of being unwanted and unloved that affects their well-being.

In the experiment of Dr. Emoto, the rice which regularly received the negative statement of “you’re an idiot” went black. We can say the same if you treat your child the same way. It will leave their psychological aspect “black” (damage).

The Bible tells us that perverse words crush one’s spirit (Proverbs 15:4). It shuts down any form of excitement, happiness, or confidence your child has. It will weigh and slow him down.  As a result, it will eventually make him believe that he is not capable of doing anything.

Most Psychologically Destructive Thing you can Say to your Child

You’re in a room of people, but nobody pays attention to you, let alone a simple hi or hello. You showed to someone your best artwork, yet you only get an uninterested face, an indifference. You thought you get noticed by being the best, but no one’s looking in your direction. These scenarios are few only of those moments where people get left behind, rejected, neglected, and unwanted. Pretty sure no one wants to be in any of this situation.

Children exposed to the same “atmosphere” at home bring various problems. Based on research, children with a history of abuse and parental neglect consistently exhibit difficulties with concentration, anger, depression, panic, food consumption, sleeping, a higher level of stress hormones, and decreased or damaged immune response[13].  In the long run, these problems will spill over to everyone your child comes across with, and that would not be good.

Based on statistics, there were 656,243 reported cases of child abuse in the US in 2019 and the most common form of child maltreatment is neglect. Such problems are a colossal blow to the psychological side of your child. These conditions are strenuous enough for an adult to handle. It can be frustrating. How much more to a child?

Based on Dr. Emoto’s experiment, the ignored rice turned to rot and moldy  — it’s decomposing! It was the worst outcome among the three jars. If we are to relate this to parenting, neglected children suffered most of the psychological damage. Just by saying nothing, ignoring their needs, or forsake to nurture them creates an impact not only on their psychological but their whole being.

The Bible teaches us not to forsake but encourage one another (Hebrews 10:25), and that includes your child. Shower him with words of encouragement, appreciation, and other positive expressions of love and care. Let your child find comfort in you rather than let them feel not being cared for and alone.

What does the book of Proverbs say in raising your child?

Now that you know what does the Bible says about the different types of parents or how your words affect your child, you might ask, how can I biblically raise my child? How can I be a better parent? The book of Proverbs in the Bible gives us helpful and heavenly tips in parenting your child.

Proverbs 3:12

Based on this Scripture, the LORD disciplines those He loves, and similarly, a father who takes delight in his child should do the same. As the children of God, He disciplined us through His words. He corrects us from our wrongdoings simply because He does not want us to live a life of sin but a life founded following Him.

A parent is ought to do the same. He should correct and discipline his child from any undesirable behavior. Parents only want the best for their child, and such discipline and correction are necessary for growth and development. We have to take note, such actions are not to draw your child away from you but to build a closer relationship with them out of pure love and care. After all, children are a delight to parents.

Proverbs 13:24; 23:13-14

This is the part of the Scripture that most parents misunderstood. It is not a license to commit violence and abuse towards your child — constant hitting, spanking, and other physical inflicted pain when disciplining them. Other parents believe that there are better and more effective forms of discipline rather than resorting to abusive corporal punishment[14].

Based on the Old Testament of the Bible, a shepherd used the rod to correct and guide his flock of sheep so that they will walk in the right course (Psalm 23:4). We can say the same for parents who used “the rod” to correct and guide his child. It is a symbolism of correction and guidance for raising and disciplining a child. Parents who do this do it out of pure love to make them “walk in the right course” and not inflict abuse and violence.

Proverbs 19:18; 22:15

The Bible encourages us to discipline our children “while there is hope” — meaning while it is possible because if you don’t, you will ruin their lives. The rearing years of your child is very fundamental that it determines your parent-child relationship in the future. Tell me, how do you handle your kid’s defiant behavior? How do you deal with it when he’s testing your patience limit? And how would you react if he defies your authority as a parent? Will a confrontation work? A punishment? Would you resort to other ways of disciplining your child? God commissioned parents to translate His love, especially towards their child. A child develops best in an environment of genuine love coupled with reasonable and persistent discipline[15].

Given today’s society, all forms of influence are present. Parents should not rely on hope or luck to mold the crucial values of their children. Instead, persist on the discipline, a loving discipline, to stimulate the gentle approach to parenting leading to mutual respect between you and your child. Discipline will drive away from the “foolishness” in your child’s heart (Proverbs 22:15). Such an act will allow you to establish your authority as a parent in the early years of your child; without you being pushy or contesting with your child. 

Proverbs 22:6

This Scripture in the Bible motivates parents into teaching their children “the right path” to walk on so that even if they become an adult, they will remain on that path. What can you impart to your child? Your child needs to learn how to become a person of character. He needs to know about responsibility, accountability, humility, respect for other people, and many more. Once you instill such values in them, it will be a firm foundation for them in the future.

On a final note, your child needs spiritual training from you as their primary spiritual leader. When I was a child, my parents imprinted on me the importance of going to church and building a relationship with Jesus. The training planted by my parents in my younger days is now bearing fruits in my adult life. This Proverb is a living statement both for me and my parents.

Proverbs 29:17

A disciplined child is a peaceful and happy parent. This Proverb shows the fruits of disciplining your child — a delighted and serene mind. Before reaching this stage, it all comes back to your upbringing, to your child. As parents, you provide most of the foundational experiences your child gets within your family. The home environment shapes your child’s perception of life. As a result, you shape their foundation of being understanding[16] and, by extension, disciplined. When your child has a clear perception of you as his parent, an inclination to discipline is not impossible. 

What are the best Bible stories that help parents?

The mothers at the trial court

1 Kings chapter 3 talks about two mothers claiming the same child to be their own. One mother has previously lost her newborn baby and took the other mother’s baby as hers. To resolve the issue, they went on trial in the presence of King Solomon. He settled the case by saying cut the baby half and give each half to both mothers. What an outrageous resolution! But to surprise, one mother agreed; she thought it would be better if neither has the baby.

However, the other mother disagreed with the idea and resorted to letting the other mother have the baby. She admonished to have the baby alive rather than die. Wise enough in his spirit, King Solomon decided the baby should go with the second mother. She was the true mother of the child.

What was the moral of this story? Genuine and loving parents only want their children to be safe, to live well, and not cause any form of harm to them. They can sacrifice more for their child. Abusive and self-centered parents only look for personal gain without considering the welfare and development of their child. This story reminds us of what it takes to love and care for your child. It goes beyond any situation and circumstances.

The Mother of Samuel, Hannah

The story of Hannah is in the first book of Samuel, the first chapter. She was barren, not until she prayed earnestly to God to bear a son. Hannah made a covenant with Him. She offered and dedicated her son-to-be to serve in the house of God. In the later part of the story, God granted her prayers, and Hannah called her son Samuel. From then, she took care of him, loved him, and nurtured him the way a parent should do. At a young age, Hannah let Samuel work at the temple of God. She honored her word before the Lord.

What can we learn from Hannah? It all goes back to the foundation that, as parents, you are a steward of your child. He gave you the role of a spiritual leader of your child. Hannah has this conviction in her heart already way before Samuel was born. Growing up a child is not only about meeting their physical or psychological needs. Parents are also responsible for the spiritual upbringing of their children. Samuel became one of the most notable leaders, prophets, and judges in the history of Israel. See where spiritual rearing can bring your child in the long run.

The Father of the Prodigal Son

Sometimes when your child commits a mistake, he might have the tendencies to be afraid of your reaction when he confesses to you. The story of the wasteful son in Luke 15 is an excellent bible story. It was about a certain wealthy man who has two sons. One day, his younger son asks for his share of his wealth. The father did so. Having the means, his younger son then went to a far country and lavishly spent all of his fortunes there. A time came when a great famine happened in that area, and he has no money anymore to use. In desperation to make something to live, he convinced a local farmer to hire him to feed his pigs. He was so hungry that he even ate the pods he’s feeding the pigs. No one gave him something better to eat.

With this situation, a realization hit him. At his father’s home, hired men have enough food to eat while he, on the other hand, had nothing. He decided then to go home with a repenting heart. From afar off, his father saw him already. He ran towards him with so much joy. The younger son asked for forgiveness and ask his father to hire him as a servant. Instead of blaming and mocking him, his father hugged him and ordered his servants to dress him in the best robe, put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. His father was so happy that he back home. A celebration happened the very same day.

What can we get from the story? Your child can make mistakes. There’s no guarantee how many of it but for sure there will be along the way. How do you respond to their mistake will matter to them. The way you take things into account also plays a counterpart weight on their end. Be your child’s confidante. The prodigal son openly said his thoughts and concern to his father. Learn how your child sees things so you will be able also to handle the situation. A parent shows his love towards his child no matter what the circumstances are.

Toys for Biblically Raising your Child

Bible-based Word Game
An awesome and interactive Bible-based game perfect for the family and understanding the Word of God. It helps to know and learn more about the Bible while having fun.
Galilee Boat
A perfect playset for Christian learning while having fun. It lets your child see this story in the Bible come into life and know more about the journey of Jesus here on Earth.
Talking Point
A perfect family game that promotes healthy relationships among family members through constant communication with each other. It is perfect for all ages specially kids who are shy and reserved.
Buckle Toy - Blu Whale
A perfect learning activity toy inspired from the story of Jonah in the Bible. It develops the motor and problem-solving skills as well as color recognition ability.

Final thoughts

Your child is a gift from God. The world introduces a lot of different parenting styles that can influence you on raising your child and there’s nothing wrong with using them. But on another point of view, the best parenting style that we can look up to is our Heavenly Father, Jesus. He gave His Word to guide us in every aspect of our lives and that does not exclude parenthood.

[1] Jordan, Pamela. “Stewardship and spirituality: Preventing revictimization in foster care.” Presentation at North American Association of Christians in Social Work (NACSW) Convention. Grand Rapids, Michigan. October. http://www. nacsw. org. Downloaded. Vol. 14. 2007.

[2] Liubov, Ryumshina. “Family influence on formation of children”s manipulative attitudes.” International Journal of Cognitive Research in Science, Engineering and Education 1.1 (2013).

[3] Fitness, Julie. “Favouritism and Rejection in Families: Black sheep and Golden-haired Children.” Proceedings of the Australian Psychology Society’s. Vol. 63. by, 2004.

[4] Brody, Leslie R., et al. “Mommy and daddy like you best: Perceived family favouritism in relation to affect, adjustment and family process.” Journal of Family Therapy 20.3 (1998): 269-291.

[5] Brassard, Marla R., Stuart N. Hart, and David B. Hardy. “Psychological and emotional abuse of children.” Case studies in family violence. Springer, Boston, MA, 2000. 293-319.

[6] Shute, Nancy. “Good parents, bad results.” US news & world report 144.18 (2008): 59-62.

[7] Whetten, Kathryn, et al. “More than the loss of a parent: potentially traumatic events among orphaned and abandoned children.” Journal of traumatic stress 24.2 (2011): 174-182.

[8] Forward, Susan. Toxic parents: Overcoming their hurtful legacy and reclaiming your life. Bantam, 2009.

[9] Romani, Paul. “The Effect of Over-Protective Parenting on Child Potential.” Pear Tree Education 12 (2016).

[10] Chase, Nancy D., ed. Burdened children: Theory, research, and treatment of parentification. Sage, 1999.

[11] DeHart, Tracy, Brett W. Pelham, and Howard Tennen. “What lies beneath: Parenting style and implicit self-esteem.” Journal of experimental social psychology 42.1 (2006): 1-17.

[12] Smokowski, Paul R., et al. “The effects of positive and negative parenting practices on adolescent mental health outcomes in a multicultural sample of rural youth.” Child Psychiatry & Human Development 46.3 (2015): 333-345.

[13] Van der Kolk, Bessel. “Commentary: The devastating effects of ignoring child maltreatment in psychiatry–a commentary on Teicher and Samson 2016.” Journal of child psychology and psychiatry 57.3 (2016): 267-270.

[14] Fitzgerald, John T. “Proverbs 3: 11–12, Hebrews 12: 5–6, and the tradition of corporal punishment.” Scripture and Traditions. Brill, 2008. 291-318.

[15] Dobson, James C. The new dare to discipline. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2014.

[16] Harvey-Zahra, Lou. Happy Child, Happy Home: Conscious Parenting and Creative Discipline. Floris Books, 2014.

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Tiffany Biondi

Tiffany Biondi

Mother of 4 kids, Tiffany is a certified childcarer and during her free time, she write posts in thebabychoice to share her hands on experience and knowledge.