Hildebrandt, Theodore A. “Proverbs 22:6a: Train Up a Child?.” Grace Theological Journal 9 (1998): 3–19.
Careful consideration of lexical and contextual factors suggests that “train up a child in the way he should go” needs to be reexamined. The verb “to train” really refers to a bestowal of status and responsibility. The noun translated “child” denotes the status of a late adolescent rather than a child. “In the way he should go” is best understood as “according to what is expected.” The original intent then of this verse addresses a late adolescent’s entrance into his place in adult society. This should be done with celebration and encouragement—giving him respect, status and responsibilities commensurate with his position as a young adult. This reinterpretation necessitates fresh application of the proverb beyond the concerns of childrearing.