Being a parent can be overwhelming. You desire nothing more than to raise happy, successful children. But you know along the way, you are going to make some mistakes. Frustration, anger, stress and the like will get in the way of being the perfect parent. In those moments, you become fearful. What if you’re not raising your child to be happy? What if the mistakes you are making are having a lasting impact? How do you know if you’re raising your children effectively?
We can find comfort in knowing that God is there for us. God is walking next to you each stop of the way to help you on your parenting journey. God gave us the Bible with some clear instructions on how to raise children, how to love them, and how to teach them about Christ. We can turn to it whenever we are in need of little help.
God created the family. He designed us to find a partner we could marry, and have children that would know and honor God (Mark 10:9). Adoption was also a part of God’s idea. He models this in Romans 8:15, 23 and Ephesians 1:5 where God says he adopts all of us as His children. Regardless of the type of family you have, children are a gift from our Lord and He cares about how we raise them (Psalm 127:3, 34-11, Proverbs 23:13-14).
In Deuteronomy 6:6-7, 11:19 God leads the Israelites out of bondage. He commands them to teach their children all God had done for them. The Lord desired that future generations would do the same. He understood that is one generation had failed to uphold God’s laws then the next would weaken their loyalty to God as well. Society would quickly decline. Parents have not only a responsibility to raise their children, but a requirement from God to place Christian values and truth into their lives.
Scripture tells us how we should also discipline our children. Ephesians 6:4 states: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Depending on the family, there can be many ways that a child is brought up with anger in their hearts. Parents could place unrealistic expectations on their child that strips them of achieving anything. Some parents will also tease, humiliate or ridicule their child as a form of punishment which causes anger and hostility. Inconsistency of punishment can confuse children and leave them unsure of which actions will have consequences. Confusion leads to frustration and anger. Hypocrisy also causes anger, especially while parents require behavior from children that the parents are not doing themselves.
To bring a child up in the instruction of the Lord means parents should treat their children the way God treats us. As a Father, God is “slow to anger” (Numbers 14:18; Psalm 145:8), patient (Psalm 86:15), and forgiving (Daniel 9:9). His discipline is designed to bring us to repentance (Hebrews 12:6–11). His instruction is found in His Word (John 17:17; Psalm 119:97), and He desires that parents fill their homes with His truth (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).
God also disciplines His children effectively (Proverbs 3:11; Hebrews 12:5) and expects parents to do the same (Proverbs 23:13). Psalm 94:12 says, “Blessed is the one you discipline, Lord, the one you teach from your law.” The word discipline comes from the root word disciple. To discipline someone means to make a disciple of him. God’s discipline is designed to “conform us to the image of Christ” (Romans 8:29). Parents can make disciples of their children by instilling values and life lessons they have learned. As parents practice godly living and make Spirit-controlled decisions (Galatians 5:16, 25), they can encourage their children to follow their example.
Children are a “heritage from the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). He places them in families and gives parents guidance in how they are to be raised. The goal of good parenting is to produce wise children who know and honor God with their lives. Proverbs 23:24 shows the end result of raising children according to God’s plan: “The father of godly children has cause for joy. What a pleasure to have children who are wise.”
Raising a child is the Will of God, and though it can be scary or frustrating at times we can know that God is helping us along the way. Teaching our children about Christ and instilling values that align with God is a great start. When you run into a space where you aren't sure what to do next, turn to the Bible to find what God has to say.