How to Honor Your Parents as an Adult (and why you should)

Family relationships are important to God. This is made clear all throughout His Word. I’ve always believed that our earthly relationships were put into place to demonstrate our spiritual relationships. For example, God is referred to as our Father. His role in our lives is very similar to that of parents and their children. He provides for us, protects us, guides us, nurtures us, etc. And as His children, we are called to obey Him for the same reason a child obeys their earthly father – He loves us enough to say ‘no’ when we need to hear it.

How to Honor Your Parents as an Adult (and why you should) |

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God’s desire is that our earthly father would reflect His heart towards us. Unfortunately today, that’s not always the case; but that doesn’t change the fact that He is our good, good Father.

Because God cares so much about how we relate to one another, six of the Ten Commandments deal directly with relationships. That certainly says something about how God desires for us to treat one another!

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you. – Exodus 20:12

This particular commandment took on a whole new meaning for me when I became a parent. My daughters are currently preschoolers, and needless to say, they can be a lot to handle sometimes. I have to say no… a lot. No, you can’t jump off the furniture. No, you can’t have cookies for dinner. No, you can’t drink the soapy water in the bath tub. (That last one is a daily battle with my youngest!) I never say no out of spite. I’m not on some sort of power trip. I say ‘no’ because I love them with everything I have. I want what’s best for them, and I want them to be safe and healthy.

As a child, I knew that I was supposed to obey my parents; but as a parent, I now fully understand why.


Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. – Ephesians 6:1-4

But notice how the Bible says to “honor” our parents. In all honesty, obedience is one of many ways we can show them honor. It’s certainly the main way for a young child; but for an adult, honoring your parents looks a bit different.


Eight ways to honor our parents as adults:

  1. Respect and learn from their wisdom.
  2. Help to meet their needs.
  3. Spend time with them.
  4. Remember special events. (Birthdays, anniversaries, etc.)
  5. Love them unconditionally – being willing to forgive when necessary.
  6. Always speak highly of them.
  7. Understand their value in the eyes of God.
  8. Honor their legacy.


The word “honor” in the original Hebrew means to glorify or bring value to. When we bring honor to our earthly relationships, we are demonstrating a godly relationship to those around us.

Take care of any widow who has no one else to care for her. But if she has children or grandchildren, their first responsibility is to show godliness at home and repay their parents by taking care of them. This is something that pleases God. – 1 Timothy 5:3-4 (NLT)


“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—“so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” - Ephesians 6:2-3


*Unless otherwise indicated, scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

**Photo by Jake Thacker on Unsplash 

What are some other ways we can choose to honor our parents as adults? Feel free to leave ideas in the comment section below!

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  1. I am honored to meet you for the first time on Coffee For Your Heart. Honoring our parents, even the dysfunctional ones, is vital to family. Thank you for the reminder today. ~April White @RedChairMoments

  2. Our family has been obliged to live with my parents the last few years. I have to make an intentional choice to honor them every day because when you try to run your family under someone else’s roof and your methods clash it is necessary. I don’t want the devil to destroy our relationship. Honor is key. Thanks for your post!

  3. Looks like you nailed it Alyssa with these 8 insightful ways to honor our parents! I thank God every day for my parents and I’m blessed they are still here with us. Your image about unconditional love is the key. That is the same kind of love that Christ shows us and we are called to be a reflection of Him. It should start with our parents. Thanks for sharing this with us. Have a wonderful holiday weekend and blessings to you and yours!

  4. My husband and I discuss this issue a lot. We have come to the realization that these commands, like all of God’s commands, were written for the children of God – so, in other words, Godly families. This brings peace to my heart as mental illness has destroyed my relationship with my parents. For quite some time, I struggled with the idea of what it looks like to honor a parent who is abusive due to mental illness – and that looks completely different that honor in a Godly family. The other thing I have picked up on recently is the part for father in Ephesians about bringing up children in the training and admonition of the Lord. I believe this training influences whether or not a child will honor a parent – this training makes it so much easier for a child to obey and honor! Just as a wife is to submit to her husband, as scripture says, it is a whole lot easier when her husband loves her as Christ loves the church. Let’s make it super easy for our kids to honor and obey us by not provoking them and by training them up in the Lord.

    Thanks for linking up on Grace and Truth!

  5. Love this! I still have my parents and a mother-in-law living and now that I’m a grandparent, I appreciate your words even more. We don’t honor our parents because they are perfect, we love and respect them because it is right. Thanks for this post!

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