EDITOR'S NOTE: He Said-She Said is a biweekly advice column for singles featuring a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to hesaid-shesaid@crosswalk.com (selected questions will be posted anonymously).

QUESTION: Where in the Bible does it mention verbally abusive children, if it indeed does?

HE SAID:

Unfortunately, the Bible isn’t set up like a topical reference book where we can easily search subjects to discover what God says about each. What it does do is give us principles to live by and the freedom to interpret according to the direction we receive through His Spirit.

I surmise by your question you are dealing with children who have been verbally abusive to you. Although I have not found a precise verse with a defined set of actions, there are passages which may help you in the process.

You children must always obey your parents, for this is what pleases the Lord. Fathers, don't aggravate your children. If you do, they will become discouraged and quit trying (Colossians 3:20-21).

Even though these two commands are adjacent, they are not conditional. If the former is not followed by the child, it does not give parents the right to disregard the latter and vice-versa. Conflict begins when one or both try to exert their “will” on the other and neither is willing to listen to the other’s point of view.

Over the years, I have worked with disobedient children and at one time was one, so I seem to have a little sense about them. Verbal abusiveness and disobedience, no matter the age, seem to have an underlying common theme – selfishness, control and power. They want things their way….and now.

Oftentimes, whether physical, emotional or verbal, abuse is the product of something deeper from the past.  I suggest you find a non-emotional moment to sit down and discuss (not manipulate, antagonize, direct blame or accuse) what may be bothering your child. Seek to find some common ground and go from there.

Children ultimately do want boundaries established by love.

This can a pivotal time in your relationship and they should know you care, love unconditionally, but also are the parent and deserve the respect as such, unless they no longer want to be in your household.

We demonstrate that we are God's servants as we are praised and dishonored, as we are slandered and honored, and as we use what is right to attack what is wrong and to defend the truth (2 Corinthians 6:7-8).

SHE SAID:

Although I do not have any children of my own, I am an aunt to several. I have had to discipline on occasion, specifically to the area of talking back to the Aunt Kris. I can remember my own childhood where my punishment changed from a pop on the behind to privileges taken away due to my mouth. I loved to test the waters of how much I could argue with my mom before I could hear my dad get out of his recliner...at which point I would run!

So you asked where in the Bible does it mention verbally abusive children? I was not able to find a specific child by name but please know most every child at one point in time will or has talked back to their parents. Whether you call this abusive or not would depend on the age and the context of the comment. From scripture we know about Cain and Abel who fought with each other from an early age. Also, the prodigal son's brother who was angry with his father for giving his brother his robe and a grand feast for his return.