If you are looking for the right source of wisdom and understanding for parenting and child-rearing, then you better look into the Book of Proverbs. Of course, the whole Bible is a great place to find the gold nuggets of parenting. However, for this particular blog, let me just concentrate on what the wisest human king who ever lived has to say about how to rear a child.
The importance of wisdom in child-rearing
There’s no doubt; parenting is tough. Imagine that the small and big decision you make today will have an enormous impact on another person’s life. How you treat your child each moment of their young life can positively or negatively change the way they will live for the rest of their lives.
Some parents go on with their lives without actually taking into consideration what is needed to truly guide their child. Some just experiment which one works or which one does not, often leaving an irreversible effect on their children.
Thankfully, God did not leave us in the dark. He gave us the Bible, the source of all wisdom, truth, and understanding. Surely, if we want to know the principles of good parenting, we will find it in the Word of God. All we have to do is search for them. However, to help you shorten your search, I have here gathered the basic principles of parenting found in the Book of Proverbs.
Principle no. 1: A wise son brings gladness
Pro 10:1 The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.
Pro 15:20 A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish man despises his mother.
Pro 17:21 He who sires a fool gets himself sorrow, and the father of a fool has no joy.
Pro 17:25 A foolish son is a grief to his father and bitterness to her who bore him.
Pro 19:26 He who does violence to his father and chases away his mother is a son who brings shame and reproach.
Pro 23:15 My son, if your heart is wise, my heart too will be glad.
Pro 23:16 My inmost being will exult when your lips speak what is right.
Pro 23:24 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him.
Pro 23:25 Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice.
Pro 27:11 Be wise, my son, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him who reproaches me.
Pro 29:3 He who loves wisdom makes his father glad, but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.
COMMENT: Time and time again, the writer of Proverbs stresses the importance of having a wise son. While this is common knowledge, it is not a common practice. Most children right now are “fools” because of lack of proper guidance.
The book of Proverbs, the whole Bible, and God promise that there is a great and tremendous blessing of having wise children. That’s why every parent must work hard and make it their priority to help their children grow in wisdom. And how should we do that? The Bible tells us, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).
Wisdom comes from God, and it is by Him that you gain the wisdom in rearing your child and helping your child find wisdom.
Principle no. 2: Discipline your child
Pro 13:24 Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
Pro 19:18 Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.
Pro 23:13 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.
Pro 23:14 If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.
Pro 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
Pro 29:17 Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.
COMMENT: Spanking your child might be frowned upon by so called “experts” today. Some psychologists would even tell you not to spank your child as this may restrict their emotional and intellectual growth. However, this is not what the Bible teaches.
Proverbs tells us that it is okay to spank your child when the situation calls for it. However, this must be done out of LOVE, care, and mercy. You don’t spank a child in the heat of the moment or out of anger. You don’t spank a child because you want him to die, but instead, you want to correct his wrong behavior and attitude.
When spanking a child, it is a must that you EXPLAIN everything and ensure that they understand why you are spanking them. Sadly, this is what most parents fail to do. Children must know that you are spanking them because you love them and if you just let their bad attitude go uncheck, they will face greater troubles when they are adults.
The Bible is clear: the motivation behind chastening a child is love and not hate. It is to correct their bad attitude and spanking is not done out of vengeance or bitter feelings.
Principle no. 3: Parents must set a good example
Pro 20:7 The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him!
COMMENT: Parents will be more efficient in rearing their child when they set a good example. You can’t teach your child not to smoke while you are holding a cigarette. You can’t teach your kid not to be drunkard while you go home every night drunk.
The bottom line is this: you need to do what you preach. If you say something and does another, you are confusing your child. Children learn by example, and your example speaks volume about the life he should imitate.
If you want to change your child, the change must start with you.
Principle no. 4: The early years of a child is crucial to his development
Pro 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
COMMENT: Some parents neglect their children because of their work and other commitments outside the home. Some think that they can simply leave their children in the “baggage counter” and just return to them when they have the time or they need them already. This is the worst thing that you can do to your child.
The best thing you can give to your child is time. Your children will only be a baby once. They will only be a toddler, pre-schooler, and teenager only once in their lives. Once those times are gone, they are gone forever.
You can always find a job. You can always find other opportunities to do other things. But when it comes to your children, there are just times that you can’t rewind anymore. That’s why while they are still young, you have to give them your time. It is the most crucial moments of their lives when they need you the most.
It is a must that you lay a solid foundation while your child is still young when they can easily be molded. Once they are adults, there are just so many habits that are difficult to change or break. Thus, don’t waste time when your children are still young. Start guiding them while they are still developing their life-long habits and attitudes.
Principle no. 5: Observe the behavior of your child
Pro 20:11 Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.
COMMENT: Matthew 7:16 tells us, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” A child soon discovers its own inclination and his action will demonstrate what he can potentially be in the future. In other words, his early actions may serve as a prophecy of what he may become in the future.
By observing the behavior of your child, you get a direction on how you should modify your strategy on approaching your offspring. Not only that, but talents may be discovered at an earlier stage. Parents may then nourish their natural gift.
It should also be pointed out that there’s a need to observe – not just look, but observe – your children. This ONLY happens by spending time with them. Thus, it is a must that parents must set aside enough time for them to be with their children.
Principle no. 6: Teach diligence to your child
Pro 10:5 He who gathers in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame.
COMMENT: It is the aim of every parent that their child grow up as a productive and reliable member of their community. Thus, parents must teach their children how to be diligent and industrious. Giving children house chores is a good example of teaching your children how to be diligent.
Moreover, children must recognize the VALUE OF HARDWORK in achieving their goals. Always giving what they want without setting any condition will only spoil them. Teaching children to “work” for their toys teaches them to value the things that they have.
Principle no. 7: Children must learn to honor their parents
Pro 30:17 The eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a mother will be picked out by the ravens of the valley and eaten by the vultures.
COMMENT: One of the Ten Commandments tells us, “Honor thy father and mother.” The Bible shows us the compelling reason for this commandment: “That your days may be long upon the land…” When children obeys their parents in the Lord (Ephesians 6:1), they obtain divine blessings that will come with them wherever they go.
Teaching your children to honor you does not mean that you are selfish. Rather, it demonstrates that there is a greater authority within the family. This also teaches them that there is an authority that they should obey outside of your home. Finally, when a child learns to honor his parents, they would also understand how to honor their spiritual Father who is in Heaven.
Having an authority over children helps them obey rules. As parents, you set the rules and teaches your children that when rules are not followed, negative consequences may result. Learning this basic principle within the home helps children to be well-adjusted individuals when they finally leave your care.
Principle no. 8: Parents must work together in rearing their child
Pro 19:13 A foolish son is ruin to his father, and a wife’s quarreling is a continual dripping of rain.
Pro 31:26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
Pro 31:27 She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Pro 31:28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.
COMMENT: The father and mother should cooperate with each other when raising their child. This is why it is crucial that you marry someone who is within your faith. Sometimes, if you and your spouse have different religious affiliations, you will have differing and conflicting views about parenting, which can make it tougher to guide your children.
The parents must talk to each other about how they should approach child-rearing. Arguing in front of your children may send a wrong signal. If the father contradicts the method his wife uses and vice versa, children may be confused about what they must do. Thus, father and mother must be able to formulate a strategy that they both agree with.
Principle no. 9: Trouble in the family will lead to poverty
Pro 11:29 Whoever troubles his own household will inherit the wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart.
Pro 28:24 Whoever robs his father or his mother and says, “That is no transgression,” is a companion to a man who destroys.
The family is the basic unit of a community. If you have a solid moral foundation within your family, your children will most likely grow up having the wisdom and knowledge on how to be successful in life.
Imagine if a father or mother brings trouble in their own household. There will be constant fighting, unrest, and conflict. This makes the home shaky and unstable.
The home should be a sanctuary – a place where children can develop into mature and reliable adults. However, if the parents always quarrel, there is a big chance that children develop negative behavior that can make them less productive in the future. With all these in mind, the parents must strive to bring blessings to the household rather than troubles and worries.
Principle no. 10: Children need to listen to their parents
Pro 23:22 Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.
Pro 28:7 The one who keeps the law is a son with understanding, but a companion of gluttons shames his father.
COMMENTS: Parents must stress out to their children that listening to their advice leads to a happier and blessed life. Parents have more experience than their children, and it is only logical to see that parents are in the position of properly teaching their children.
Of course, parents can better teach their children if they know what they should teach them. Remember that you can’t give something if you don’t have it. Thus, parents must also strive to be knowledgeable of God’s ways and other things that pertain to life so they can better give sound advice to their children.
These are just some of the parenting principles that we can derive from the Book of Proverbs. Solomon, the wisest and greatest human king during his time, left us with this wisdom to help us improve our parenting skills.
I hope you have learned some new things from this blog. Let me know your thoughts or if there is something you want to add. Just leave a comment below. 🙂