With all the changes that occur from infancy to independence, parents remain as one of the few constants in a child’s life. Though no job is more difficult, no reward is more fulfilling than to see your child blossom and grow... 

“ …in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”

Luke 2:52

Kids are a lot like kites—they struggle to become airborne, yet need the stability of the string. Your role as a parent is to prepare your “kite” for flight. In these The Women of Faith resources examine the God-ordained roles for mothers and fathers, different parenting styles that lead to problems, how to maintain the proper balance between love and limits, and the process for “letting go” of your child. Discover how to develop a plan for providing hope and help to hurting parents.

"Though separation is painful, God designed your role as a parent to prepare ‘your kite’ for flight. As the fragile frame dives again and again, don’t be emotionally torn by the changing winds. Keep running with your child, releasing more and more string into the Lord’s sovereign hands.” — June Hunt

When God created man and woman in His image, He said, “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28 esv). In short, the first command of God to His creation involved becoming parents. God’s plan for the first parents, and all parents today, is to reflect His image to their children and to the world. Parenting, therefore, is God-centered. It begins with Him.

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”

Proverbs 22:6


What Is the Role of a Parent?

Parents are intended to be loving teachers who exert a powerful influence in the lives of their children.  “Your method of parenting impacts the development and behavior of your children.”  The goal of parenting is to raise children who reflect Him and follow Him. And throughout the process, God is available to guide, instruct, and help you.

Parenting is a privilege and a process—a long, unpredictable process. By God’s design, parenting stretches over years, affording children an opportunity to mature physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. As difficult as parenting can be, it is still a privilege. The Bible says, “children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him” (Psalm 127:3 nlt). It is a blessing to have children, to love them, to teach them, to watch them grow and mature. Parenting is often a process by which you grow and mature as well. God often uses parenting to teach us important lessons about life and about Himself. 

Realize, God is a Father who cares about you and your children. He has not left you alone to the difficult yet rewarding task of parenting. He has given you His Spirit and His Word, the Bible, to encourage, equip, and empower you in your own life and in the important work of parenting.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

(2 Timothy 3:16–17)

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

(Matthew 7:7)

  • Parents are mothers and fathers who are responsible for being providers and protectors, teachers and trainers, defenders and disciplers of their children.
  • Parenting means physically rearing, emotionally encouraging, and spiritually nurturing a child.
  • Parents are intended to be loving teachers who exert a powerful influence in the lives of their children.
  • Parent in Greek is goneus,4 which in Luke 2:41–42 reveals the discipling role of parents, as Jesus’ parents regularly brought Him to religious gatherings: “Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom.”

“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”

(Proverbs 1:8)


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Biblical Instruction for Parenting

To determine your biblical accountability as a parent, ask yourself how many of the following statements are true of you.

  • We regard our children as a blessing.

“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.” 

(Psalm 127:3)

  • We approach parenting with common goals and actions.

“Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” 

(Amos 3:3)

  • We take every opportunity to teach our children spiritual truths.

“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” 

(Deuteronomy 6:6–7)

  • We consistently demonstrate good values to our children by doing what is ethically right and just.

“In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned.”

(Titus 2:7–8)

  • We plan ahead to protect our children from danger.

“By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family.” 

(Hebrews 11:7)

  • We provide for our children’s material needs.

“Children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.”

 (2 Corinthians 12:14)

  • We effectively discipline our children.

“Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.” 

(Proverbs 29:17)

  • We live in a way that deserves respect and instills a sense of pride in our children.

“Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.” 

(Proverbs 17:6).

What Is the Role of a Father?

“Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”

(Matthew 10:39)

  • Fathers, biological or adoptive, raise their children or help in the raising of their children.
  • Fathering children means accepting responsibility for their needs and providing leadership, guidance, and protection.
  • Father in Greek is pater, derived from the root word pa, meaning “nourisher, protector, upholder.”
  • Fathers profoundly influence their children’s concept of the heavenly Father. Jesus said . . .

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

(Matthew 7:11)


Biblical Instruction for Fathers

To determine your biblical accountability as a father, ask yourself how many of the following statements are true of you.

  • I demonstrate reverence for God before our children.

“Blessed are those who fear the Lord, who find great delight in his commands. Their children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.” 

(Psalm 112:1–2)

  • I take godly responsibility for the leadership of our home.

“He will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just.” 

(Genesis 18:19)

  • I provide financial support for our family.

“Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 

(1 Timothy 5:8)

  • I take responsibility—without harshness—for the spiritual training of our children.

“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” 

(Ephesians 6:4)

  • I lovingly discipline our children.

“The Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” 

(Proverbs 3:12)

  • I teach our children to respectfully obey.

“He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect.” 

(1 Timothy 3:4)

  • I comfort and encourage our children while urging them to live godly lives.

“You know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.” 

(1 Thessalonians 2:11–12)

  • I pray for our children and for godly wisdom in parenting them.

What Is the Role of a Mother?

Perhaps no one has a greater opportunity to impact a child than a mother who persistently prays. Ruth Graham knows when she can’t control her son, she can give control of him to God. And that’s exactly what she does.

“I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life.”

(1 Samuel 1:11)

  • Mothers give birth to and/or raise their biological or adopted children.
  • Mothering children means nurturing, protecting, and comforting children.
  • Mother in the Old Testament is the word em and is referred to as “a source of comfort, teaching, and discipline” who is worthy of respect.
  • Mothers are often considered the “bond of the family” and a source of blessing.

“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.”

(Proverbs 31:28)


Biblical Instruction for Mothers

To determine your biblical accountability as a mother, ask yourself how many of the following statements are true of you.

  • I have a gentle, caring spirit toward our children.

“We were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.” 

(1 Thessalonians 2:7 esv)

  • I openly express motherly compassion toward our children.

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?” 

(Isaiah 49:15)

  • I demonstrate sincere faith in Christ Jesus as our Lord.

“I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.”

(2 Timothy 1:5)

  • I give unconditional love to my husband and children.

“Teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children.” 

(Titus 2:3–4)

  • I exhibit self-control, kindness, and a pure heart in our home.

“Urge the younger women . . . to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” 

(Titus 2:4–5)

  • I provide for the needs of our family to the best of my ability.

“She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family” 

(Proverbs 31:15)

  • I set an example of strength and dignity and express optimism about the future.

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.”

(Proverbs 31:25)

  • I faithfully instruct our children with godly wisdom using carefully chosen words.

“She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.”

(Proverbs 31:26)

 A Biblical Checklist for Parenting

  • Do you regard your children as a blessing? (Psalm 127:3)
  • Do you and your spouse approach parenting with common goals and actions? (Amos 3:3)
  • Do you take every opportunity to teach your children spiritual truths? (Deuteronomy 6:6–7)
  • Do you clearly instruct your children by doing what is ethically right and just? (Ephesians 6:4)
  • Do you plan ahead to protect your children from danger?(Hebrews 11:23)
  • Do you provide for your children’s material needs? (2 Corinthians 12:14)
  • Do you effectively discipline your children? (Proverbs 29:17)
  • Do you deserve the respect and pride of your children?(Proverbs 17:6)
  • What Is the Role of a Parent?

“Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.”

(Proverbs 29:17)

Parent Traps

Treasure-seeking parents

  • Prioritizing possessions and money
  • People pleasing for popularity and recognition
  • Pushing for prominence and status
  • Preferring pleasure and travel
Rejecting parents
  • Lacking eye contact
  • Lacking physical touch
  • Lacking focused attention
  • Lacking quality and quantity time
Absentee parents
  • Choosing workaholic lifestyles
  • Choosing careers over family
  • Choosing unnecessary childcare
  • Choosing excessive time with friends
Power-hungry parents
  • Displaying behavioral extremes (passively manipulative or forcefully controlling)
  • Unwilling to admit mistakes
  • Feeling possessive of the child or of the other parent
  • Competing with other parents through their children
Spiritually-stymied parents
  • Differing in theological beliefs, goals, and expectations
  • Serving God to the detriment of family
  • Misunderstanding the character of God
  • Failing to practice faith in front of family or live with integrity

“Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge.”

(Psalm 31:4)

 The Dont's of Discipline

  • Don’t feel guilty when you discipline your child. You are loving your child well when you hold the line on limits.
  • Don’t be afraid of losing your child’s love. By obeying God’s will, you will earn your child’s respect.
  • Don’t view structure and limits as punishment. You are establishing beneficial boundaries.
  • Don’t try to manipulate your child with fear or guilt. See discipline as a positive step to put your child back on a correction course.
  • Don’t embarrass your child in front of others. Remember to praise in public and correct in private.
  • Don’t belittle your child with sarcasm. Speak the truth in love and discipline with compassion.
  • Don’t compare your child with others. See your child as aunique creation of God.
  • Don’t discipline your child in anger. Wait for your anger to pass as you pray for wisdom in order to discipline appropriately.
  • Don’t use your hand for correction. Use a neutral object—not a father’s belt or a mother’s brush—but an object, such as a paddle.

“Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.”

(Proverbs 13:24)

The Dos of Discipline

  • Do mold the will without breaking the spirit. (Colossians 3:21)
  • Do communicate your expectations clearly. (1 Thessalonians 4:1)
  • Do establish negative repercussions for misbehavior. (Proverbs 19:18)
  • Do consider spanking when a young child defies your authority. (Proverbs 23:13–14)
  • Do encourage and develop responsibility. (Proverbs 17:25)
  • Do assign beneficial chores. (Proverbs 14:23)
  • Do reward positive behavior. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
  • Do maintain consistency. (Proverbs 24:3–4)


Letting Go

  • Let go of seeing your child as an extension of yourself.
  • Let go of your desire to possess your child.
  • Let go of looking to your child to meet your needs.
  • Let go of trying to relive your life through your child.
  • Let go of the inclination to control your child.
  • Let go of your expectations for your child.
  • Let go of jumping in to save your child from failure.
  • Let go of seeking harmony at all times.
  • Let go of your need to be appreciated.
  • Let go of parenthood as your primary identity.

“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.”

(Psalm 127:3–4)

  • Receive the compassion of God.

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.” 

(Lamentations 3:22)

  • Examine your emotions.

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” 

(Psalm 139:23–24)

  • Leave the past in the past.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

(Isaiah 43:18–19)

  • Entrust the future to God.

“That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.” 

(2 Timothy 1:12)

  • Acknowledge your need for the Lord.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” 

(Galatians 2:20)

  • Seek to build a new relationship with your child.

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

(Colossians 3:13)

  • Exchange your pain for God’s peace.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.” 

(Isaiah 26:3–4) 

“The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death.”

(Proverbs 13:14)


 Key Verse to Learn

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”

(Proverbs 22:6)


Key Passage to Read

1 Thessalonians 2:7–12


Grace Filled Words

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding.’” 

Psalm 111:10

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”

Proverbs 22:6


Additional Scriptures

Proverbs 1:8

Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Ephesians 6:41 

Thessalonians 2:7–12




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