Discipline Of Children

Biblical Principles To Guide Parental Discipline Of Children At Home & In Public

The Bible speaks to the attitude parents should take toward child discipline. It is not intended to be an exhaustive discussion of child discipline, nor does it address many other important issues and topics related to parenting. However, we pray that parents reading this paper will examine themselves in the light of the Word to ensure that they are parenting their children in a manner that is pleasing to God.

God’s Word makes it clear that children are a gift and blessing from Him (Psalm 127:3). With each gift comes the responsibility of stewardship and our duty to be found faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2). This blessing is enhanced when parents “are labourers together with God . . .” (1 Corinthians 3:9) using the Scripture and the Holy Spirit’s guidance to provide strength, direction, and correction for their children (Proverbs 29:17).

God expects us as parents to bring up our children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). In this context, nurture includes providing for the child’s spiritual, emotional, and physical needs, while admonishment includes verbal and physical correction that is done in a Godly manner. Nurture and admonition must begin at home “when thou sittest in thine house . . .” in order to be effective in public “when thou walkest by the way . . .” (Deuteronomy 6:7).

Much advice and many opinions are available today on what type of admonishment or correction should be used with our children. Some of this information can be helpful; however, it spans a very broad spectrum and may be confusing or misleading. We believe in the Word of God as the final authority and as absolute truth (Psalms 19:7-9). Consequently, we must use the Holy Scripture as the basis for our relationship with our children and ensure that our personal views of discipline are consistent with the Word. In addition, seeking counsel from the local elder or from older brothers and sisters will provide a valuable resource for parents.

While the majority of admonishment and correction of our children is done privately in our own homes, other times, parents must administer discipline in public. We recognize that within our brotherhood there is diversity of thought in this area. Because of this, public administering of admonition has the potential to cause divisiveness and confusion among our brethren. As we endeavor to raise our children, may each of us, in humility, forbear with one another and follow after the things which make for peace (Ephesians 4:2; Romans 14:19).

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For Further Information:

Five C’s of Effective Discipline This document gives straightforward advice on effective discipline for children. It discusses the five C’s: Clarity, Consistency, Communication, Caring, and Create. [ACCFS]

Getting to the Heart of Your Child’s Behavior (Link from FamilyLife)