There are some good Bible verses to help focus on how to correct your kids.
When it comes to correcting my kids’ behavior, I’ve got a lot to learn. My gut reactions tend not to be the best ones…
- Shouting (“Come on, guys!”)
- Shaming (“I only asked you to do one thing, and you couldn’t even do that?”
- Over-generalizing (“Why do you always…”)
I know I’m not alone. I hear it all the time from parents who wish they could correct their kids in a godly manner, but their knee-jerk responses seem to get in the way.
3 Verses to Use to Correct Your Kids
Parents need a plan when it comes to discipline and how to correct your kids. We need to learn how to correct our children in a way that…
- Points them to law of Christ, not just our own parental rules
- Speaks to their hearts, not just their behaviors
- Imparts grace and kindness, not condemnation
1. Law: Luke 10:27
As Christians, we are called to obey “the law of Christ” (1 Cor. 9:21; Gal. 6:2). In his earthly ministry, Jesus told us what His most important commandments are:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
Kids need boundaries and rules, but too many rules can be burdensome. Jesus keeps it ruthlessly simple for us, giving us just two memorable laws, pulled right from the Law of Moses.
Love God. Love people. Every act of disobedience is, in some way, connected to one or both of these commands.
- When our kids are impatient, they aren’t showing love towards God in his wise timing or towards people in their weaknesses.
- When our kids are argumentative, they aren’t showing love to the elders placed over them.
- When our kids are unkind, they aren’t showing love through their attitudes, words, and actions.
- When our kids brag on themselves or are envious of others, they show selfishness, not loving, selfless service to others.
- When our kids obsess over toy, hobby, or game—so much that they neglect their duties—they show they aren’t putting God first in their hearts.
- When our kids are deceitful, they show they want to save face more than giving people the courtesy of honesty.
Each time you correct your kids, bring it back to one or both of these two commands. Also, remind them Whose commandments these are.
If these are Jesus’ top 2 commands, they should be ours as well.
2. Heart: Luke 6:45
There are times when quick correction of behavior is needed, but at some point—perhaps when the time is ripe, or at the end of the day—our kids need to understand where their behaviors come from.
This is why Jesus helps us get to the heart of behavior:
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Remind your children, as you correct your kids, that their behavior is not merely because “their brother made them do it.” It isn’t because they are tired or hungry. These these are just occasions for the evil in their hearts to spring into action.
Our kids need to know this because they need to understand their sins are a window to see their desperate need for a Savior.
3. Grace: Romans 5:8
Regardless of how our kids react to our correction, they need to be told about the kindness of God through Christ.
God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
God doesn’t wait for us to be good to redeem us. He doesn’t even wait for us to want to be good. He sent His Son to die when we were nothing but rebels.
Our kids need to know Christ took the punishment for the sins of the world and He is able to save all who believe in Him. They should be reminded of this fact, whether they have personally professed faith in Christ or not.
Parenting with Proverbs
The Bible is full of proverbs and proverb-like statements—short, memorable sayings of about practical and godly living.
The Book of Proverbs in the Bible is uniquely suited to help parents in moments of correction. Proverbs was written “to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth” (Proverbs 1:4). The heart of the book is intensely personal and fatherly.
Proverbs are ideal for moments of correction because…
- Proverbs are short, memorable, and quotable.
- Proverbs don’t just tell you how to live; they tell you why.
- Proverbs are based on real-life experience.
- Proverbs are God’s own words, not just yours.
This is what inspired me to write Parenting with Proverbs: The Art of Biblical Correction Using Biblical Wisdom.
In the book you’ll find 80 proverbs categorized according to character traits, including:
- Lazy vs. Hardworking
- Sloppy vs. Diligent
- Deceitful vs. Truthful
- Emotionally Impulsive vs. Self-Controlled
- Greedy vs. Generous
- Indifferent vs. Attentive to Elders
- Argumentative vs. Obedient
- Hurtful Words vs. Kind Words
- Prideful vs. Humble
- Envious vs. Rejoicing with Others
- Quarreling vs. Peacemaking
- Bad Friendships vs. Good Relationships
- Bitter vs. Forgiving
- Complaining vs. Gratefulness
Each character trait chapter also includes:
- A short Bible study connecting the proverbs to the person of Christ
- Quick interpretations for in-the-moment corrections
- Dialogue questions for your kids
- The digital version also includes Scripture-memory cards for every proverb in the book.
You can grab the digital book in our store or the softcover book on Amazon.
More Biblical Parenting Tips:
- 10 Reasons Why Your Kids Should Memorize the 10 Commandments
- 10 Ways to Help Your Kids Focus on God’s Word
- 6 Thing to Pray for Your Kids Everyday
- 7 Ways to Develop a Prayerful Child
- How to Teach Your Kids to Pray (even if they don’t like to pray)
You stuck with general, overarching themes. I’m going to assume it’s okay to get specific. Probably our top three for correction are:
Colossians 3:20 (“Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord.” — We prefer this over the Ephesians verse, when using just one, because it focuses on pleasing God, rather than on what is right.)
Philippians 2:14 (“Do all things without complaining and disputing.” Mama needs to work on this one. :/ )
Philippians 2:3 (“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than himself.”)
We also reference the children’s catechism a lot with the littlest one. “How can you glorify God?” “By loving Him and doing what He commands.” “And what does He command? That you obey Mama and Daddy.”
And lest I should sound like I have it all together — these are only the times I get it right. Usually I sound more like the beginning of your post.
Yes. Specific is great. Thanks for these!
Colossians 3:20 and Philippians 2:14, for sure. And also Proverbs 1:7b — “fools despise wisdom and correction” — for my always-right (in his mind) child.
Great verses! Love it.
One of ours as well is Philippians 2:14 about doing all things without arguing or complaining…this one goes for me as well 🙂
We use the children obey your mother and father also…
Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another”
One that I had my kids write out recently…is Psalm 119:59 “I thought about my ways and turned my feet toward your testimonies.” I had them illustrate it and I loved the pictures…we talked about how when we do something wrong…we think about it and turn back to God’s Word and His path.
I am not sure if I have just 3 as each situation may call for a different scripture.
I LOVED how you said that it comes down to loving God and loving people…TRUTH!
Thanks for your encouragement and inspiration…growing every day in this parenting thing…ugh…lol!!
You’re welcome! Great words of wisdom here.
I also use REVENGE IS TO GOD
The verses are really spiritual if we stick around them we will have given our GOD a good generation
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other
All of Romans 12 is so rich. Love that chapter!
The one were currently using the most is Ephesians 4:32…”Be kind and tender to one another. Forgive one another, just as God forgave you because of what Christ Jesus has done.”
With 5 kids ages 5-11 there’s lots of fighting…I just keep asking, “Is that kind and tender?”
I love Ephesians 4:32. Such a positive focus!
I ask mine ifnthey think Jesus and God would be happy with the way they are behaving. Also ai talk with them about the anger inbtheir hearts coming from Satan and love in their hearts coming from God.
Galatians 6:1 says:
“Brothers and sisters, if ANYONE is caught in ANY transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted”
To me, this scripture overwhelmingly apply’s to child rearing, because when our chilren are at fault, we need to restore them in a gentle spirit (Least we also be tempted) But Unfortunately, in most cases, we end up correcting them in an irritable and hostile spirit.
Great verses for a parent to memorize. Such an important lesson for me to learn.
We have our children memorize James 2:14. “Do everything without complaining or arguing.” (NLT) This is a good reminder to all of us, me included!
One that I live by is 2 Tim 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity or fear, but of power, love and self-control.” I find myself speaking that truth about self-control quite often!
Nice! Love those verses.
Philippians 2:14 NLT ?
I typically use just the ‘Obey your parents’ and ‘ Be kind to each other’ type verses, but I love these that you listed. My kids are 4, 6, & 8. I have been feeling especially lately that something is missing from my parenting and praying that God would show me what to change, and I believe He has just used this post to answer my prayer. My husband has been on a business trip for a week now, and I am struggling. I will be referring to these verses in the morning! Thank you!!
Hen 13:17 tells us “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your soul as those who have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and without groaning for that will be of no advantage to you.”
It’s a long verse but it is loaded with good reminders and answers some “why” questions kids are often prone to
Nice. I hadn’t thought of that one.
Great post! Thanks for the reminders to keep it as simple as the Word of God!
Something I am often saying around the house is “a soft answer.”
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger.” Prov 15:1
It is a good reminder to me also!
And another one that goes through my head: James 1:19-20 says, “My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. For man’s anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
The proverbs are key for quick correction. Love it.
Philippians 2:14 is a great one! Our girls(4) were at a point where they’d complain about everything, to the point where we wrote this scripture on their hands one day and everytime we heard a grumble or a mumble we told them to look at their hand. They know this one by heart now and it’s recited daily!
Another one we use a lot is Romans 12:10. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another. I actually made a print out of this one but changed brotherly to sisterly and hung it all bedrooms!
I quote James 1:19 “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”. I use that not only for my children but reassurance for myself as I am correcting them!
Luke 6:31 “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
Philippians 2:14 “Do everything without grumbling or arguing.”
I also ask my children if what they are doing glorifies God?
It is a daily struggle, but I know God is the only One that can change their hearts…through His Word 🙂
Hello. My desire for the past 6 months is to control my words/yelling around my kids. I homeschool 4 children. Two of them have Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) so I see a lot of behaviors. A lot. Even though we get them therapy, I still find myself looking at just the behaviors. I’ve realized I can’t change them, but I can change myself. In the process of changing myself to how I react, I see my flaws so outwardly showing. Parenting these children is the hardest thing I have ever done! It doesn’t come natural to me. My birth children are easier, there’s attachment there. But to have kids with porcupine quills poking you everyday really shows how flawed I am! So your articles on anger and parenting, I have been following. I can’t wait to read the encouraging bible verses you post. We use “Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. And many others based on:
Be a truth teller
Be fun to be around
Listen to first direction
Ephesians 6:1 is wonderful to use.
If I don’t post now, I’ll loose track, so please forgive the absence of references. When we deal with anxieties: of course Psalm 23, and (Timothy or Philipians? corrections welcome) “The Lord does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and strenth of mind/self-control.”
2 Timothy is one of my personal favorites.
Philippians 2:5 “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” I use this all the time with my 5 year old. It covers just about everything. 🙂
Thank you! We love that one too.
Philippians 2:14 has been mentioned, but we pair it with verse 15 which tells the WHY to verse 14: “Do all things without murmuring or disputing, that ye may be blameless and harmless, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation amongst whom ye shine as lights in the world.” When we are blameless in our actions and attitudes, no one can point a finger at us. When we are harmless–there is no reason to point fingers, when we are without rebuke–it means we are doing things right. And we get to shine as lights in the world (the lighthouse from which Jesus who is THE LIGHT shines).
Luke 6:31 “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.”
Ephesians 4:32 “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another,” and again the WHY–“even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
We also have taught them that God has given verses to mom and dad to help us parent them–Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This is God telling us as your parents that it is our responsibility to train you and teach you the way to behave. How can we expect you to be a good mom and dad one day if we don’t teach you first? God has given us that responsibility because we are your parents.
Another one for mom and dad Exodus 20:12 “Honor (respect and obey with a right heart and attitude) thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” If we expect our children to honor us, we need to model it with our own parents. The “hard” verses aren’t just for the kids (Eph 6:1, Col 3:20, Pro 20:11).
I wish I could say we are doing these verses perfectly, but are definitely works in progress. Thank you for asking hard, honest questions–about yourself and situations, and of us. I look forward to what you will put together.
This is a great post! Something we struggle with in our home from time to time. This is a great reminder. Sometimes its easy to get caught up in the disciplining and not correcting (by using God’s Word).
These are very important verses, and I certainly will be using them from now on. Sometimes in the midst of conflict, it’s hard to remember to quote scripture but it is so important. Lord help us remember! Visiting you from Mama Moments Monday. Thanks for sharing! Blessings
Rachel @ Smart Mom Smart Ideas
The Bible has so many verses we can use to correct our children and point them to God. As many other commenters have already mentioned, I love Eph. 6:1 and Eph 4:32 especially Be kind to one another as unkind words and acts are one of the main challenges with children relating to each other.
You might enjoy the podcast at http://www.encouragingchristianfathers.com. Practical and spiritual advice in a great balance.
Stephanie, the Candid Pastor's Wife
Wow, so helpful thank you! Sharing
Thanks for sharing, simple but deep to the core