What Is The Biblical Method Of Parenting?
The biblical method of parenting that God has given parents to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord is to use the rod (discipline) and reproof (instruction). By faith, parents faithfully apply these methods as God works in the hearts of their children.
Establishing The Right Method
- The Right Method: The purpose of parenting is accomplished when parents exercise their authority through “The Biblical Method.” This method has two main parts: the rod (nurture, discipline) and reproof (admonition, instruction). Each part has to be used in conjunction with each other or it is ineffective. Both of these methods address the heart and the heart addresses behavior. Both impart wisdom to the children. If your children are neglected or not cared for according to this method then it can lead to a family full of shame (distress caused by your children’s behavior), but if this method is used accordingly it can lead to a family full of peace and delight (calm and joy caused by your children’s behavior).
Proverbs 29:15, 17; Ephesians 6:4; Hebrews 12:5
- The Wrong Methods: If “The Biblical Method” is the right method for parenting a child and ordained by God then all others methods are wrong or misguided. This is because they are artificial ways to gain obedience through only addressing behavioral change and not heart change. They are dangerous because they can lead to developing unrighteous actions or attitudes within your children. The following methods need to be cast off and our parenting needs to come in alignment with the Bible’s method: (1) The Positive Method—parents bribe their children or make an agreement to give them a reward if they obey their orders or the children earn rewards for good behavior. (2) The Emotional Method—parents appeal to the emotions of their children through fear, threats, shame, hurt feelings or isolation to coerce obedience. (3) The Negative Method—parents use some kind of negative punishment like yelling, hitting or grounding to control their children or punish for bad behavior. (4) The Mixed Method—parents mix all the methods together, willing to try anything, hoping that something works, but never stick with any one method.
Putting The Rod (Discipline) Into Focus
- The rod represents “physical discipline.” Application: Parents are to use an instrument like a small thin branch and apply it to their children’s body to cause a controlled and reasonable amount of physical pain without harming the child in any manner. Reason: Parents are to apply the rod (discipline) only for sin, disobedience or rebellion and not for childish behavior, accidents or out of anger or frustration. Effectiveness: Parents should only apply the rod (discipline) privately, mainly in the home, not in an embarrassing manner and it must be applied consistently in its application and reason to be effective in their hearts.
- The rod (discipline) should never be used to cause children physical harm. Anything that goes past a controlled and reasonable amount of physical pain is no longer considered “discipline” but it is “abuse.” Parents have no right to physically abuse their children no matter the intention.
- The rod means an object is used to discipline—not the parents’ hands. It prevents slapping out of instant irritation and gives you time to have the right mindset when you have to go get the rod. Parents’ hands shouldn’t be a sign of judgment—scaring the children when they reach for them but a sign of acceptance. The exception would be if the child was doing something dangerous and needed the immediate discipline.
- Parents use the rod (discipline) to remove the “foolishness” from their children’s hearts and not necessarily as a consequence for wrong behavior. Foolishness is not childishness, but it is the trait of acting in an ungodly and unwise manner because there is no fear of God. Proverbs teaches extensively on the characteristics of a foolish person and none of them are desirable. Foolish children despise their parents and cause them great sadness.
Proverbs 22:15; 1:7; 10:1; 15:5; 17:25; 19:13
- Parents use the rod (discipline) as a means of loving their children. Because the rod (discipline) has been ordained by God to remove the foolish from children’s hearts parental love compels parents to diligently apply the rod (discipline) when necessary. To withhold the use of the rod (discipline) would be a hateful action because they are refusing to give them the discipline they need and allowing them to continue in their rebellion unchecked. Only selfish parents would choose not to use the rod (discipline) because it is uncomfortable for them to apply its use. Children will survive and not be harmed by the biblical use of the rod (discipline).
Proverbs 13:24; 23:13-14; Hebrews 12:6-8
- Parents use the rod (discipline) by faith knowing that God has chosen it as a means to properly raise their children. The rod (discipline) is grievous in the moment, it is not a joyous activity for the one applying it or for the children receiving it—no kind of physical pain or discomfort is, but it will eventually yield fruit that is peaceable and righteous.
Putting Reproof (Instruction) Into Focus
- Reproof represents “wise communication.” Application: Parents are to use the Bible to admonish their children about what they have done wrong to warrant the use of the rod and instruct them how to do right next time. Reason: Parents are to reprove (instruct) their children for sin, disobedience or rebellion. Effectiveness: Parents should reprove (instruct) their children before using the rod so the children know the reason for it and don’t misunderstand. They should also reaffirm this after using the rod and make sure there is complete restoration. Reproof (instruction) has to be communicated in a loving, calm and consistent manner to be effective in their hearts.
- Parents should use Bible and gospel terminology when reproving (instructing) their children. Parents are to direct their children’s hearts to God and how bad behavior relates to their relationship with Him. Using Bible terminology helps discern the thoughts and intents of the heart and leads the children to understand the problem and how to make it right.
Proverbs 6:23; Hebrews 4:12
- Parents should carefully reprove (instruct) their children. Much damage can be done if they are quick to answer and pour out evil things against their children (scolding), which makes the whole discipline process ineffective. Instead, parents should study or mediate on the content of the reproof (instruction) but also the manner and tone in which it is delivered.
Proverbs 15:1-2, 28; James 1:19-20
- What is the biblical method of parenting?
- What is the use of the rod (discipline)?
- What are some characteristics of the rod (discipline)?
- What is the use reproof (instruction)?
- What are some characteristics of reproof (instruction)?