Proverbs 29:15

ESV The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
NIV A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom, but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother.
NASB The rod and a rebuke give wisdom, But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.
CSB A rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a youth left to himself is a disgrace to his mother.
NLT To discipline a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child.
KJV The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

What does Proverbs 29:15 mean?

A parent who thinks it is not loving to correct a child misunderstands the nature of love. Hebrews 12:5–6 reminds us that our heavenly Father disciplines His children because He loves them. This passage states: "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives." Children need to be lovingly guided, even punished, so they learn to avoid even worse consequences (Proverbs 3:11; 13:24; 15:5; 22:15).

These verses do not encourage cruel or abusive retaliation by any parent. It is important to match the discipline with the offense. Likewise, it's necessary to ensure a child knows why they are being corrected, so they can learn. Paul commands fathers not to "provoke [their] children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). Without discipline a child will engage in wrong behavior, and in doing so he will hurt others, including himself (Proverbs 8:33–36), and bring shame to his parents (Proverbs 19:26; 29:17).
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