While fathers are often identified as the parents responsible for setting the pattern for child rearing, mothers usually do much more of the training and instructing of families’ children. Mothers and fathers need to agree on their approach to child rearing and support one another in their efforts with their children. Both parents are to be obeyed and honored equally by their children (Eph. 6:1-3). Parental responsibility is set out in two ways:
First, what they are not to do—“do not provoke your children to wrath.” Parents are not to over-discipline in a reign of terror that will result in bitterly hostile children (Eph. 6:4) or children who give up on life (Col. 3:21).
Second, what parents are to do—“but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” To “bring them up” involves three ideas:
As long as a child is a dependent, parents are responsible for rearing them so they become the people God wants them to be.
To “bring up” means literally “to nourish tenderly.” Children should be objects of tender, loving care.
Nurture (lit., “child training”)—all that children need for physical, mental, and spiritual development—and Admonition (lit., “corrective” discipline) of the Lord.
Fathers and mothers are God’s constituted home authority (Prov. 1:8; 6:20–22) to nurture children along godly paths and to admonish them away from ungodly ones. Fathers and mothers who do not discipline their children are parents who are themselves undisciplined and disobedient to God’s will.
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