Parenting Like God

Written by Sherri Bergmann

Mother's Day, Father’s Day, Grandparents’ Day. Of all the parenting books and articles that exist, who can really tell us the best way to raise a child? How do we avoid being helicopter parents or ones that are overprotective, authoritative, or too permissive?  

In order to paint a picture of parenting like God, we will look at what God instructs and how He raises His children.


"God is love." 1 John 4:16

God has given the definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4 – 8: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."

This kind of love secures a child in a healthy frame of mind and in a home atmosphere where they can flourish.


Some shrink from wanting to discipline their child out of fear their child will rebel and do something destructive, ‘hate us’, or they think it is loving to let them do whatever they want.
But, discipline is the loving choice. "Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him." Proverbs 13:24

The only opportunity parents have to help their children learn to avoid trouble is while they are raising them. Without discipline, children can be led astray and dive into what can destroy them. Trouble can lead them to fall victim to drugs and addiction, behavioral problems in school and relationships, trouble in the work force, a failed marriage and a broken family, and even be ensnared in crime or live behind bars. "Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death." Proverbs 19:18


Rewards from God are woven throughout the Bible. As God disciplines his children, he also rewards them. "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." Hebrews 11:6

Reward demonstrates that you are pleased with your child, shows appreciation, and encourages them to do what is good. Rewarding them motivates them for greater incentives that benefit them and others.

What we reward children with is not only of monetary value, but of a deeper intrinsic value that transcends material wealth that motivates and encourages them. They take it to heart that you trust them, and that trust spurs them on to achieve new success, take on greater responsibility, and gain rewards for their labor.


He's there for us 24/7.

Jesus said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5.

"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?" 
Matthew 6:28

Be there for your kids. Your presence is crucial. 


"And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4

Admonition of the Lord means to teach the Lord's ways, including providing a warning of what happens when one doesn’t follow what God commands. This helps children to know not only what is right and wrong, but to be aware of the blessings and consequences that follow when choosing either course. A parent who ignores what God commands creates a toxic environment in which a family cannot thrive.

Mercy and Forgiveness

Google dictionary defines mercy as “compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm.”

“For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more." Hebrews 8:12.

"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning." Lamentations 3:22-24

Without Jesus, we’re doomed to being doomed. But when we ask God for forgiveness, and turn from our wrongdoing, he forgives us, wipes our slate clean and remembers our sins no more.

This is an important example to extend to others, including our children. We appreciate it when others, out of compassion and understanding, give us a break when we screw up.

A new day brings new opportunities to show kindness and leave the past behind. Love “keeps no record of wrongs.” 1 Corinthians 13. Don’t keep bringing a past sin up. Correct, forgive, encourage them when they do good, and move on. This is what God does as he walks through life with us.

Forgiving strengthens relationships, while unforgiveness breaks relationships down. As we forgive our child, we teach them the power of forgiveness and love. 


Google dictionary defines compassion as “sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others”.

"As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him." Psalms 103:13

"The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion." 
Psalms 115:5

Have compassion on your children. Remember that you have walked around the block more times than they have, so you know what they’re going through.


Because you know what your child is going through, or what can lie ahead of them, or how to improve their situation, you can provide guidance to help them.

Proverbs tell of a father imparting his son with many tips of wisdom to get through life successfully, and to avoid traps that can bring him down.

God does the same for us. He gave us the Bible to guide us through this life successfully, and examples of others’ follies to know the consequences. He gave us the Ten Commandments to avoid what will harm us and to enrich our relationship with Him and others. He answers our prayers when we ask for direction.


"As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you." Isaiah 66:13

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God."
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
Psalms 46:1

Just as God comforts us, we must comfort our children. 


God makes it clear we have the freedom to make choices. He warns us that not everything is good, and calls us to place a boundary around our thoughts and actions by choosing Him as a shield to protect us from destruction. We must teach our children the same. 

"This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live." Deuteronomy 30:19

"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." Proverbs 4:23

"'I have the right to do anything,' you say—but not everything is beneficial. 'I have the right to do anything'—but I will not be mastered by anything." 1 Corinthians 6:12

Once a child becomes an adult, even though they may slip from good paths, Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”


Parents want their child to tell them what is on their mind and what is bothering them. God wants the same. That’s called prayer… talk to God. He is available. 

God came to earth incarnate through Christ to relate to us in person—to look into our eyes, hold our hand, talk to us, and walk with us. Christ died so he could abide in us, and us in him. Prayer and following him are the keys to having a relationship to Him.

Children want their parents will be there when they need them, especially during their most difficult or happiest moments. 

Our availability and active participation in our children’s lives makes a difference, as Christ does by being involved in our lives.


"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

Enough said.

What a child experiences at home impacts them for life. As a parent, we don’t have to worry about negatively influencing our children when we follow the instruction and the examples God, in his rich and immeasurable love, has set for us as our Father.
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