Disciplining at Any Age


How do you discipline your kids in ways that are loving and effective? Here are God's instructions on parenting and practical ways to put them in action.

Parenting is hard work. It’s the job we never take a vacation from and the role we rarely get respect for. But as we love our kids and try our best to raise them, we get a small glimpse into what it’s like for our heavenly Father to parent us.

Throughout the Bible, God gives us instructions on how to raise our children. We want to share God’s instructions on parenting and practical ways to put it into action.

"My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in" (Proverbs 3:12).

How do I discipline my kids in a way that is loving and effective?

  • Start early. As soon as your child is old enough to know the difference between right and wrong, they are old enough to experience discipline.
  • Don’t make threats. (“If you don’t stop that right now, you’re not getting any candy!”) Instead, set rules/expectations then be consistent and follow through. Kids need structure, and they need to know what to expect.
  • Explain why they’re in trouble and what it shows about their heart. Make discipline about character development not just behavior modification.
  • Forgive and forget once the disciplining is over. Hug your kids and tell them you love them. Avoid phrases like “You will never learn,” and “How many times have I told you to obey?”
  • Calm down first. If you are too angry to speak calmly, send your children to their rooms and tell them, “I’m really angry, we’ll talk about this when I calm down.”
  • Differentiate between a violation of God’s law (i.e., you lied) and your law (i.e., you left the lawnmower in the rain).
  • Allow them to experience the consequences of their actions. For example, if your son writes on the wall, he cleans the wall.
  • Model repentance for your kids. Confess your own sin and shortcomings, and ask your kids for forgiveness when you need it.

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