How Scripture Can Help You to Be a Better Parent

Want to be a better parent, but don't know exactly how? Then come by MM to find out what the Bible says are 4 vices to avoid and 4 virtues to pursue! #parenting #motherhood #virtues #values #character #sins #Scripture #verses #strategies #goals

Making “parenting” my focus this week means I’m either way behind, since today is Mother’s Day, or I’m way ahead since Father’s Day is more than a month away! 😉 I choose to frame this as being really organized and thinking ahead, though I never was great at that as a mom most days!

Today I want to contrast parenting vices with virtues from Scripture, looking at both ends of the parenting spectrum.

Most of us will likely fall somewhere in the middle. But it’s always good to examine ourselves using God’s word.

Click here, if you’d like to skip directly to the inventory. Be sure to answer each question based on this grid: 1 never; 2 rarely; 3 sometimes; 4 often; 5 almost always.

4 Parenting Vices to Avoid


Apparently, favoritism was a very popular parenting vice. Sadly, it was passed down through various generations in certain families.

  • Abraham and Sarah favored their son Isaac over Abraham’s son, Ishmael, with wife Hagar (Genesis 21:1-21).
  • Isaac and Rebekah favored differing sons—with Isaac favoring Esau and Rebekah favoring Jacob (Genesis 27:1-29).
  • Jacob and Rachel favored their sons Joseph and Benjamin over the sons Jacob had with his wife Leah (Genesis 37:3ff).

Favoritism is one of those vices that can start out as a virtue because it stems from love. It goes off course when we let that love get out of balance. Then it can end up causing rivalry between siblings and drive a wedge in our marriages.

Inventory Question …

1. I treat my children fairly—not giving special privileges or more attention to one child over the other(s).

This was something of a trouble spot for me, so I’m scoring myself a 3. Even though I struggled here, I always tried to be fair. I just didn’t always see things objectively at the time.

If you struggle here, seek the help of a counselor. My husband and I went to a counselor at one point to resolve this issue. If you’re like us, it will give you the clarity and encouragement you need to make positive changes that will last far into your children’s adulthood!

Don’t forget, a lot of counselors and life coaches are available “virtually.” Check out Leslie Newman’s coaching!


This parenting vice was obvious in Isaac’s wife. She hatched a deceptive plan, where she enlisted the help of their son Jacob to trick her husband into giving Jacob the coveted birthright (Genesis 27:5-29).

Granted, her reasoning was right, since she knew God wanted Jacob to have this birthright. But the way she handled it was completely wrong.

Question …

2. It’s important to me to live honestly, so I strive to take responsibility for my sins and mistakes as soon as possible.

I’m probably a 5 here. Not because I never lie or manipulate. I occasionally do! But, once I recognize it, I always come clean, then work on changing my ways.

If you struggle here, start by asking God daily to reveal any deception in your actions. Then confess to Him what He reveals to you. In time, you’ll start feeling courageous enough to confess to others as well.

Sexual Sins

David was a great king and, for the most part, a godly man. But as a parent, and sometimes as a spouse, he left a lot to be desired. His relationship with his son Amnon is case in point.

Since David had an affair with Bathsheba, it’s likely that Amnon followed in his father’s promiscuous footsteps when Amnon raped his own sister, years later (2 Samuel 13:1-15).

Question …

3. I rely on God to help me control my appetites and passions, knowing my example hugely influences my kid’s choices.

Because I’ve struggled with attraction to others in the past, I’m, now, extra vigilant about this. So I’ll give myself a 5.

If you struggle here, find a same-gender friend who will pray for you and hold you accountable.

Lack of Discipline/Enabling

David not only enabled his son Amnon by essentially ignoring the fact that Amnon raped his sister (2 Samuel 13:21), he also enabled his son Absalom. After Absalom killed his brother Amnon, David refused to communicate with Absalom or deal with his crime (2 Samuel 13:38-14:28).

Question …

4. The discipline I use with my children is consistent and fair—never looking the other way in order to avoid conflict and difficulty.

My husband and I worked hard at being on the same page with discipline, which helped to make things consistent and, for the most part, fair. So I’ll give myself a 4 here.

If you struggle with this, maybe it’s time to sit down and map out the rules of your home with your spouse. Then pray for God to give you the strength to enforce what you’ve both decided.

4 Parenting Virtues to Pursue

Make God Your Priority

Although Abraham showed favoritism at one point with Ishmael, he would go on to show complete devotion to God during a watershed moment. He did this when he obeyed God’s command, being willing to offer his son as a sacrifice (Gen. 22:1-14).

Question …

5. I make God my highest priority, relying on Him to help me put my children in the right place and perspective in life. 

This is something I always strive to do—even as an empty nester. Even though I don’t do this perfectly, I’m consistent here, so I’ll rate myself a 4.

Do you struggle here? Ask God to renew your passion and commitment to Him today!

Spiritual Mentoring

Timothy’s mother and grandmother were great examples of this important parenting virtue. They taught him how to follow Christ, with him growing into an important pastor in the days of the early church (2 Timothy 1:5).

We should also put Deuteronomy 6:6-7 into action …

“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.”

Question …

6. I consistently and intentionally teach my children God’s word, helping to strengthen their spiritual lives (Proverbs 22:6).

Based on how I raised my boys and how I’m navigating their adulthood, I’d give myself a 4, mostly for effort, not necessarily for form.

If you struggle here, read a good book like Shepherding Your Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp, then apply the principles you discover.

Introduce Your Children to Jesus

What I’m talking about here is the most important conversation(s) you’ll ever have with your child. Help them to know what it means to receive Christ’s forgiveness of their sins. When you do, it will be like the time people brought their children to Jesus for Him to touch and bless (Matthew 19:13-14).

Question …

7. I’ve had or am preparing to have this conversation with my child(ren), because I know it is the most important decision they will ever make.

My husband and I did this with each of our children. This wasn’t a one-time and done conversation, but often involved conversation after conversation. Thankfully, all three of our sons have received Christ! So I’ll rank myself a 5 here, simply because I was faithful in this task.   

If you struggle here, seek the help of a children’s leader in your church. Any number of godly mentors can guide you in how to start these conversations.

Love Your Children

This is about loving our children just as much when they are difficult as when they are sweet. Thankfully we have a “roadmap” in I Corinthians 13:4-8 for how to best love our kids.

Question …

8. My love for my children is deep, strong, and consistent—showing up in both the good and bad times I experience with them.

I would give myself a 4 here, instead of a 5, because I’ve let my own selfishness and insecurity hinder these efforts on occasion.

If you struggle here, begin to pray for God to open your eyes to all the ways you can love your children better each day, based on that I Corinthians passage.

First of all, Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms and grandmother’s out there! I hope you’re honored and celebrated by your families!

For other posts in this Insight for 2020 series, click here.

Last week I held a giveaway of my Bible study—Ephesians: Breaking Down Barriers & Living Secure. Congrats to the randomly chosen winner—Anita Ojeda! And be sure to join me next week when Maree Dee, of Embracing the Unexpected, will be my guest blogger!


Which of the four parenting vices have you struggled the most with? 


Which of the four parenting virtues do you want to pursue more?

25 responses to “How Scripture Can Help You to Be a Better Parent”

  1. Beth,
    The vice I really stumbled with is Discipline/Enabling. I had an abusive spouse and I longed to have a close relationship with someone. Sadly, I was not as strong a disciplinarian with my children as I should have been and I did enable them because I wanted to keep the peace and not rock the boat. I am seeing the consequences of my actions – big time. I did try as best I could to introduce my children to God and to His Son. They saw that time with God was a priority in my life. As for Spiritual Mentoring, I know there was a lot of room for improvement here. Great post and lots of wisdom to ponder!!
    Blessings friend,
    Bev xo


    1. Yes, sometimes enabling, as well as, favoritism emerges when there is a strained, and worse, abusive relationship between spouses, Bev. It’s easy to want to shelter our kids from conflicts, especially if we’re married to someone who is volatile. I enabled my boys at times, I’m sure. Sometimes my spouse came across harsher with them than I thought he should, and I would intervene, undermining him in obvious ways for them to see. That proved to be a problem in time. But I sure didn’t realize it at the time at all! I just thought I was being the loving and protective mother hen! 😉

      I’m glad you made God your priority. And I’m right there with you on the spiritual mentoring. I think I did fairly well there, but I can now see all sorts of ways I could have done better. Hindsight is always 2020. Hmm, and what a 2020 it is! Lol! Thanks for being so open and vulnerable, my friend! That’s one of the things I love about you!


  2. Thank you for sharing this truth today, Beth! I’m so very grateful that we can go directly to God’s Word for wisdom and guidance in regards to raising our children. Deuteronomy chapter 6 is one of my very favorites on parenting! It is packed full of such important truth!


    1. Yes, God’s word gives us so much wisdom, if we will only dig deeply for it and apply it to our lives, Tabatha. Thanks for stopping by and encouraging me!


  3. You have some really great points and insights here, Beth! Loved your use of scripture and David’s parenting skills. I love David: his faith and attitude toward God. His parenting left a little to be desired, though. :-\


    1. Yes, David was a man of contrasts, for sure! I always say that about myself too. I can operate so often at the extremes! Thanks for stopping by and encouraging me, my friend! Your kind words mean a lot, as I know you are quite the wise Bible teacher, yourself!


  4. What intentional and thought-provoking questions! My son is an infant so I’ll have to wait for a lot of these conversations, but I love having a resource like this to use when that time approaches. And there are plenty questions about my own heart that I can think about now! Thank you for posting this!


    1. I hope you do keep resources like this and others that you come across, Elena! There’s so much more wisdom available to supplement the Scriptures in the blogosphere, than what I had available to me during my active parenting years. I don’t think the internet wasn’t even readily available in my neck of the woods until my oldest was 5 or 6. And even then, I had to go down to the local library to use their computers! Lol! Yes, ancient days! Thanks for coming by, my friend!


  5. It does not make me depressed
    or even very sad
    that the world is truly blessed
    by the kids I never had.
    It’s not that I am vicious
    or even very mean,
    but you should be suspicious
    of what I’d teach a teen.
    Lock-picking, that’s a lovely art,
    and when you’re good it’s cool
    for a rap sheet’s fresh new start:
    ‘possessing burglar tools’.
    And perhaps the training of a waif
    in use of nitro on a safe…


    1. You are hilarious, Andrew! But yes, I can only imagine what you would teach your kids, if you had had them. Some things are a blessing in disguise! Lol! Thank you for coming by and also for not being my actual neighbor who might have trained my sons to use nitro to blow a lot of fun things up! 😉 Praying you are making it through each day with at least a few pain-free moments!


  6. The one I stumble with but don’t see a way around is – I treat my children fairly—not giving special privileges or more attention to one child over the other(s). I have children with special needs, and they have gotten more attention and have lived under a different set of expectations.

    As for virtues, I want always to pursue God first.



    1. I can relate, Maree Dee. Though I didn’t go into it here, very often families that have children with special or medical needs end up receiving the lion’s share of attention and energy. I had one situation, to a degree, like that and that was why I gave more than I should have to that child. It’s always hard to know how to balance things, especially things that cannot be balanced. BUT, we try, nonetheless! That can stir up guilt when we fail to balance what cannot be balanced, in the first place. Just my ramblings on the subject! Lol! Agreeing on putting God first! That’s how we get through these very tricky and difficult seasons. Thank you for stopping by, my friend! Looking forward to highlighting you next week!


  7. I am in the process of reading a new (to me) version of the Bible. I just finished Genesis. It is amazing how many parenting mistakes the family of Abraham made, isn’t it? We are all human, we all make mistakes. I think we parents need to give ourselves some grace. We do the best we can. I always think of ways I could have been a better parent when my sons were younger but luckily, they all turned out fine despite all of my parenting mistakes.


    1. Ha! Yes, so true, Laurie! There were more examples that I found but left on the cutting room floor! And yes, we certainly do! Giving ourselves grace can be one of the best ways to model that very important choice and action for our kids, because they will inevitably need to do that for themselves one day too! I feel the same way about my kids. They’ve all grown into very good and godly young men. I guess the mom guilt needs to be put away! Lol! Thanks for stopping by, my friend!


  8. Thanks for sharing all these words about parenting! It reminds me as a daughter to give my parents more grace too — just simply because it is so easy to forget that even parents are just humans sometimes! x


    1. Yes, I hope you do, Michelle! Parenting is a very hard job and often so confusing in the moment. I see so many bloggers with amazing wisdom on the parenting front. I think to myself, I was never that smart as a parent! Lol! But I’m grateful people can read their wisdom today in the blogosphere. Thanks for stopping by, my friend!


  9. Good advice here. Scripture has always been on the top of my list for many reasons but especially raising children. Pinning this. Coming from Grace and Truth


    1. There’s so much we can glean from Scripture about all of our relationships in life, Mandy! That’s what my Insight for 2020 is truly bringing into focus for me this year. Each post is grounded in Scripture, giving me and my readers the chance to see how applicable God’s word is to EVERY challenge and conflict in life! Thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation!


  10. Lots of great points here! I probably struggle the most with consistency because my child can just wear me down. I have had to learn that if no always means no, she will be more disciplined and better behaved because she knows my expectations, but it’s tough when I’m tired. I probably give myself a 6-7 on that one. I am so thankful that I get to homeschool and disciple my daughter everyday. I get to walk with her through my success and failures. She sees me study my Bible, apply it, fail, repent, cry, pray and do it all over again. I just hope she sees God’s great love and grace through me. I even wrote a post about how to be a peaceful parent last week. It was one that took God years to write on my heart. Thanks for such great wisdom. I’m pinning and sharing!


  11. Bethany McIlrath Avatar
    Bethany McIlrath

    I’m not a parent, but I think these apply more broadly too. Thanks, Beth!


  12. It’s interesting to watch how my daughter is parenting her daughters, to see which of our methods she uses, and which she discards. 🙂 I was far from a perfect parent, and there are things I would likely do different now. Live and learn. I’m thankful for the abundance of God’s grace all along the way!


  13. Ah … where were you my friend, 35 – 40 years ago?!

    I sure could have used your companionship and wise counsel during those parenting years.

    Thank God for supplying all that I lacked …


  14. These are such thought-provoking questions, Beth. I’m glad the parents in scripture weren’t perfect … they provide so many compelling examples of what to do and not do, and how God is faithful to forgive and restore.


  15. My biggest regret now that my children are grown is not teaching them about having a “great relationship ” with Jesus. Salvation and church attendance was taught. But for the longest time we were taught so much in the Bible, but I personally never understood the personal daily relationship outside of salvation, until our new pastor arrived 6 years ago. Now they’re grown and I struggle to help them understand that need. Please pray for them.


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