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Teaching Your Children to Fear God

By Dr. Don and Debbi Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
Parents—your children are never too young to learn a reverent fear of God.

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An important part of child discipline is teaching children at a very young age to fear God. Although young children seek the approval and warm affirmation of their parents, even a two-year old is old enough to begin grasping the concept that his or her highest aim in life must be to please our heavenly Father and win God’s commendation. In the 6th of a 20-article series, Dr. Don Dunlap explains how parents can achieve this goal.

Little children are far more concerned with pleasing their parents than they are with pleasing God. They can see and touch their mothers and fathers, but God is an abstract Being. As children grow older, however, at two or three years of age, they should begin to grasp the concept that their highest goal must be to please God above everyone else.


Parents should begin to remind children often of the truths that God never slumbers and He takes sin very seriously. Children should have an abiding sense that God’s eyes are constantly upon them.


We should make it clear to children that they ultimately answer to God—not us—as their final authority.

Parents must explain to their children that they, as adult children of God, are also under authority, and that God disciplines them each time they behave disobediently. That is how God demonstrates His love for us as our heavenly Father. A person is truly free when he or she submits to God-given authority.

Children should learn at an early age that their chief purpose in life is to love and obey God. Therefore, although their wrong behavior displeases their parents, the more important principle is that it displeases God, who is perfectly holy. This truth helps young children develop a healthy, biblical fear of God, and an awareness of His presence.

Begin helping children memorize God’s Word as soon as they can utter a few syllables.

It is helpful to memorize scripture verses on obedience together as a family. Many parents find that their children memorize the verses more readily when they learn hand motions that go along with the verses as memory-prompters. An excellent verse to begin with is Ephesians 6:1,

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

The writer of Colossians 3:20 reiterates this truth,

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

When each of the children in our family reaches about two years of age, he or she is able to quote, “Thou God seest me.”


We should lead each child to begin to grasp the principles of God’s omniscience (He knows everything) and omnipresence (He is everywhere.) God knows about every detail that happens in our lives and nothing that we say or do escapes His watchful eye.


Children should understand that God has charged their parents with the primary teaching roles in their lives.

Children should understand that their parents are the God-given authorities in their homes. There should be no question or confusion as to that fact. It is vitally important for parents to clearly establish their primary teaching role in their children’s lives—to impart to them instruction, reproof, correction and training in righteousness.



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