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Bible Verses that Address Common Behavior Problems in Children

Laura Kuehn, LCSW

Christian parents who saturate their children’s day with the love of God will naturally want to incorporate His standards during times of training and discipline.  However, let us remember that God’s Word should be used to heal, not punish.  It is a band-aid, not a weapon.

The collection of verses below can be used with your children when their hearts are soft following a misbehavior.  You can also incorporate these truths during every-day conversation, while reading stories together, or during family devotion times.

These verses are a good compliment to our Heart of the Matter Parenting Cards as well as our method for more effective time outs.  All of these verses are taken from the Contemporary English Version of the Bible – a translation that is well-suited for children of any age.

Click the image to print your own copy to have on hand.

What the Bible says about behavior problems in kids. FREE Printable!

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Self-control

God teaches us how to live right:

Titus 2:11-12:“God has shown us how kind he is by coming to save all people. He taught us to give up our wicked ways and our worldly desires and to live decent and honest lives in this world.”

The Holy Spirit, our Comforter, helps us to behave:

Galatians 5:22-23:“God’s Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways.”

We invite lots of problems into our lives if we can’t control ourselves:

Proverbs 25:28:  “Losing self-control leaves you as helpless as a city without a wall.”

Sometimes it is hard to do right, but God promises to help us in those times:

1 Corinthians 10:13:  “You are tempted in the same way that everyone else is tempted. But God can be trusted not to let you be tempted too much, and he will show you how to escape from your temptations.”

Obedience

God doesn’t want a little of us to obey Him.  He wants ALL of us to obey Him:

Leviticus 18:4:“I am the LORD your God, and you must obey my teachings.”

 It is never too late to turn from the wrong things we do and obey God:

Nehemiah 1:9:   “But you also said that no matter how far away we were, we could turn to you and start obeying your laws. Then you would bring us back to the place where you have chosen to be worshiped.” 

Obedience brings many blessings, such as friendship with God:

John 14:23:“Jesus replied: If anyone loves me, they will obey me. Then my Father will love them, and we will come to them and live in them.”

Wholesome talk

We need to use what we say to help others feel better, not hurt them:

Ephesians 4:29:  “Stop all your dirty talk. Say the right thing at the right time and help others by what you say.”

Controlling what we say is hard, but if you work at it, it will be easier to behave in other areas too:

James 3:2:  “All of us do many wrong things. But if you can control your tongue, you are mature and able to control your whole body.”

 Don’t start arguments, stop them!

Proverbs 15:1:  A kind answer soothes angry feelings, but harsh words stir them up.”

Treatment of others

Put others first, before yourself, and you will please God:

Philippians 2:3:“Don’t be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves.”

God showed great kindness to us by sending Jesus.  We need to show this same kindness to others:

Ephesians 4:31-32:“Stop being bitter and angry and mad at others. Don’t yell at one another or curse each other or ever be rude. Instead, be kind and merciful, and forgive others, just as God forgave you because of Christ.”

 [Photo credit: gracey from morguefile.com]

About the author

Laura Kuehn, LCSW

Laura Kuehn, LCSW

Laura Kuehn, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker specializing in children and families. CfP is the place she combines some of her very favorite things: writing, parenting and God's word. She loves encouraging parents to build their families upon Jesus, the one true Cornerstone. She is happily married to a wonderfully supportive husband and is the mother of two delightfully inspiring children.

16 Comments

  • My daughter(14) thinks she’s grown! I really need the Lord’s help, to open her eyes, ears, heart & spirit, to His word! Thank you, Jesus!!

  • I am truly lost with my child right now. At 14, she has now run away 4 times, experimented with drugs, and is exploring the possibilities of sex, lying, and stealing. I am a former Marine. I have tried just about everything from spanking, grounding, removing all freedoms, endless chores, softer approaches, she has even been face to face with local law enforcement threading her to change her ways or face them. She refuses to believe in God, yet I show her examples all the time. I feel hopeless right now and would love some advice.

    • Hi Jason,

      I am so sorry that you are going through all of this with your daughter. It is heartbreaking to see our children make such bad decisions. I am assuming that you have services involved such as counseling (individual or family) – but if not, I would suggest that you try to find someone you can trust. If you have a church family, you can ask a leader for recommendations or even your pediatrician.

      In the meantime, I would not underestimate the power of prayer in these situations. Stand over her and pray for her as she sleeps. Start your day asking God to give you hope and wisdom. I would also meditate on the nature of God – He wants to restore people. His main goal and objective is restoration of people who are lost – that is why He sent Jesus. Scripture says that His desire is that none should perish (2 Peter 3:9).

      Read stories in the Bible about people who have been redeemed from hopeless situations (David, Elijah, Abraham, etc). Talk to others who have traveled the same path with their children come out of the other side.

      Please do not lose hope. God loves your daughter and He loves you too. He is in the midst of this and has not left you. I recently received a lot of comfort from a book called Disappointment with God by Philip Yancey. I highly recommend it.

      I have said a prayer for you and your family. God bless,
      Laura

    • There’s a book called the five love languages and it’s the single version I don’t if ur single or not but that has nothing to do with it I’m just saying I read that version of the book and in there it talks about kids and why they misbehave and why they don’t listen to u when u disapline them. I would recommend that book. But I’m also a teenager and what I would do is just talk to her because mostly likely the reason she’s doing what she’s doing is she’s trying to get attention due to something. Or I’m guessing there’s something that has happened either in the family or at school or maybe it’s just the situation she’s in and she’s just hiding it by doing what she’s doing. I think u should talk to her and just head on ask what’s wrong.

  • I’m currently going through a really hard time with my 13 year old son he’s been disrespecting teachers at his school and just making some very inappropriate comments that really worries me because he’s in serious trouble they’re very strict at his school so they don’t tolerate anything that’s out of place he made a very scary comment to a teacher and now they are punishing him first they wanted to completely expelled him but then they decided to put him in a program where he’ll be isolated from his teachers and classmates until they see a change and difference in his behavior,attitude and temper and learns to communicate in a respectful way without making any rude comments this really has me worried and upset I just feel heartbroken because he’s a good kid is just his temper and the way hi says things that get him in trouble and I have tried talking to him and been there for him as much as possible and give him the best advice I can possibly give but nothing seems to work he just gets fustrated and and angry very easily if things don’t come out right or don’t go his way sometimes I just feel hopeless but his my son and I cannot give up on him specially casi know that all the things he says that get him in trouble he really doesn’t mean them he just blurs them out when he’s really frustrated or angry because of a certain situation please give me some helpful advice

    • Hi Marbi,

      I am sorry that you are in the middle of this trial. Trust that the Lord will see you through. You obviously care deeply about your son and want what the very best for him. Right now, it sounds like he could use someone to talk to – someone to help him figure out how to control his outbursts and address where they are coming from. I would recommend that you seek out the help of a trusted counselor. Your church clergy may have someone to recommend. Or you could use an online search such as this one: https://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/ Now is the perfect time to intervene in this manner.

      Laura

  • Hi. I have a tween daughter. We homeschool and I would like to talk to her about feelings and how to handle strong emotions better. Do you have any educational curriculum recommendations?

    • Hi Brenda,

      The tween years are fraught with intense emotions. While I have not read this book myself at this time, it is recommended by Focus on the Family and looks very helpful for the issues you describe. I am considering purchasing one myself as I think it might be a great resource for parents. I am not sure if this is what you meant by curriculum, but I hope it helps.

      Thanks for stopping by. God bless,
      Laura

  • For last 4 years I have went through troubles with my teen daughter. She runs away, lies, has had sex, disrespect herself and others, threatened her sisters, tried to fight me, cussed at me, skipped school,fought and had child protective service at my home me 3 time. I am at my whits with no help from law enforcement. They told me I cannot make her go to school, I can not stop her from leaving, so honestly I feel so helpless. She knows how the laws protect kids because she was at a mental institution twice and they explained things to her. She has took pills twice trying to kill herself. One time she was sent to mental institution for it. I don’t want my heart to harden.

    • Erica – my heart aches for you and your daughter. I would encourage you to continue to pray for her, no matter how lost she may seem. No person is beyond His reach. Also, may I suggest a book for you to read? Disappointment with God, by Philip Yancey, is a wonderful source of encouragement for people who are struggling through hard times. May the God of all peace and comfort give you the strength you need for each day.

      Laura

  • Hi my name is ruth I have a 17 year old son that steels and lie’s about it sometimes he talk to me like he is the man of the house I can’t send him no where cause he just can’t. Do without touching I need your help please

  • My daughter is 12 I don’t know what else to do because she is acting out in school she was just recently suspended also bully’s. Her 10 yr old sister uses profanity on a regular basis and looks up inappropriate things on the internet. Help Help Help

    • Hi Ayana,

      I would first suggest limiting or completely restricting internet access for your 10 year old daughter. If she needs access for school work, it can be supervised. For the rest of the family, make it a rule that all devices need to be used in a public area. For your 12 year old daughter, I would suggest a meeting with the school social worker or counselor. Find out what exactly is going on. There are so many variables that could be affecting her behavior. Kids act out for a host of reasons but a professional that knows her would be able to help.

      Laura

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