Parenting Principles from Proverbs


“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 indicates there are four strategic times each day parents are to teach their children:

  1. when they get up;
  2. when they travel together;
  3. when they sit together; and
  4. when they go to bed.

What should parents be teaching their child during these four God-appointed times each day?

I have selected a few principles from Proverbs to serve as a guideline for the types of things you should be teaching your children. I hope this list will help you get started and that you will make your own list of timeless biblical truths for teaching your children.

Advice on Counsel

Teach them that Dad and Mom are their best source of wisdom.

  • Proverbs 1:8: “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.”
  • Proverbs 13:1: “A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.”

Teach them the danger of rejecting Dad and Mom’s counsel.

  • Proverbs 15:5: “A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.”
  • Proverbs 15:32: “He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.”

Teach them to consult the Lord when making plans.

  • Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge [know] him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Teach them the importance of seeking godly counsel.

  • Proverbs 24:6: “In [the] multitude of counselors there is safety.”
  • Proverbs 11:14: “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”

Teach them to receive correction with a proper attitude.

  • Proverbs 10:8: “The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall.”
  • Proverbs 19:20: “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.”
  • Proverbs 10:17: “He that refuseth reproof erreth, is brutish, despiseth his own soul, and shall die” (12:1; 15:32; 15:10 – combined)

Teach them that punishment should make them wiser.

  • Proverbs 21:11: “When the scorner is punished, the simple is made wise: and when the wise is instructed, he receiveth knowledge.”

Advice on Building Character

Teach them to recognize wrong and to have the courage of their convictions to stand alone.

  • Proverbs 1:10: “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.”

Teach them the way to honor is humility.

  • Proverbs 15:33: “The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honor is humility.”

Teach them always to be honest.

  • Proverbs 12:22: “Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.”

Teach them that laziness is wrong.

  • Proverbs 10:26: “As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.”
  • Proverbs 18:9: “He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.”

Teach them to watch their words.

  • Proverbs 10:19: “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.”
  • Proverbs 17:28: “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.”
  • Proverbs 21:23: “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.”

Teach them the power of their words.

  • Proverbs 18:21: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”

Teach them to give a gentle answer in the face of wrath.

  • Proverbs 15:1: “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”

Teach them to have integrity.

  • Proverbs 11:3: “The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.”

Teach them that a godly reputation is a priceless possession.

  • Proverbs 22:1: “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold.”

Teach your daughter to be gracious.

  • Proverbs 11:16: “A gracious woman attains honor.”

Teach your daughter discretion.

  • Proverbs 11:22: “As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.”

Teach them that cruelty is wrong.

  • Proverbs 11:17: “The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh.”

Teach them to be patient and control their anger.

  • Proverbs 14:29: “He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.”
  • Proverbs 15:18: “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, But the slow to anger calms a dispute.”
  • Proverbs 16:32: “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.”

Teach them that their actions show who they are.

  • Proverbs 20:11: “Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.”

Advice on How to View Sin and Sinners

Teach them that only wicked people think wrongdoing is fun.

  • Proverbs 14:9: “Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favor.”

Teach them not to envy sinners, because God’s curse is on the sinner.

  • Proverbs 3:33: “The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just.”

Teach them not to envy sinners or desire their company.

  • Proverbs 24:1: “Do not envy wicked men, do not desire their company.” (NIV)

Teach them that God will destroy the possessions of sinners.

  • Proverbs 14:11: “The house of the wicked shall be overthrown: but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish.”

Teach them not to rejoice at the misfortune of evil.

  • Proverbs 24:17-18: “Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth. Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him.”

Advice on a Christian World View

Teach them the value of education.

  • Proverbs 1:22: “…fools hate knowledge.”
  • Proverbs 18:15: “The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.”

Teach them to be certain of the facts before accusing someone.

  • Proverbs 3:30: “Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.”
  • Proverbs 18:13: “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.”

Teach them the importance of hard work.

  • Proverbs 6:6-11: “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.”

Teach them how to recognize a “naughty” person and avoid him.

  • Proverbs 6:12-14: “A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth. He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers; Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord.”

Teach them never to mock their parents.

  • Proverbs 30:17: “The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.”

Teach them that their actions reflect on their parents.

  • Proverbs 27:11: “My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me.”

Advice on Teaching Christian Principles

Teach them to fear the Lord.

  • Proverbs 3:7: “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.”
  • Proverbs 8:13: “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.”
  • Proverbs 15:16: “Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.”

Teach them to memorize God’s Word and meditate on it.

  • Proverbs 3:1: “My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments.”
  • Proverbs 7:1: “My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.”

Teach them the importance of trusting God.

  • Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Teach them the importance of guarding their mind from evil.

  • Proverbs 4:23: “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”


I hope these principles from Proverbs will give you a “jump start” in continuing the process of developing Biblical truths to teach your children and grandchildren. Why not make your own list of timeless truths from each book of Scripture as you read through the Bible?

Originally published in God’s Revivalist. Used by permission.

Allan Brown
Allan Brown
Dr. Allan Brown is Professor and Chair of the Division of Ministerial Education at God's Bible School & College. He holds his PhD in Old Testament Interpretation from Bob Jones University and is the author of several books and articles.