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6. Book Review -- Don't Make Me Count to Three

Book Title: Don't Make Me Count to Three

Author: Ginger Plowman

Year of Publication2003

PublisherShepherd Press


Author’s Web-site

Full Book Available in: English

You should read this book if you…

Need help handling your child’s disobedience by reaching the heart. The author uses real-life examples of disobedience and how to handle them in a practical and Biblical way.

“In a nut shell”…

The book sets forth a heart-centered approach to discipline and explains how to use the Bible to encourage and reprove your children.

Key Ideas…

If we work on changing our children’s behavior rather than what is on the inside, we will cause our children to become manipulators. They will learn to please us by doing what we tell them to do out of a fear of punishment, but they will not learn to live the way God tells them to live.

If we are to really help our children, we must work backward from the behavior to uncover the attitudes of the heart that drive behavior.

Rather than just telling your child what he did wrong and what he should do about it, we must ask thought-provoking questions.

“It is important to rebuke our children when they do wrong, but it is equally important, if not more important, to walk them through what is right”. Pg 47

Teach your children what the Bible says about their difficulties at the moment of disobedience. Don’t just tell your child what he did wrong and what he should be doing. Also have him go back and actually do it. Ask him what he could have done that would have been a better response.

Action Steps…

“For helping them discern the matters of their hearts, there are three issues to walk them through. What was the nature of the temptation? Was it anger, idolatry, envy? Was it selfish or contentious? How did he or she respond to the temptation? What was wrong with the way she responded? What other ways could he have responded that would have been better?” Pg 44-45

One very effective tool in training children how to put what they have learned into practice is role-playing.

Take time alone with each child each night. Don’t be in a hurry. Don’t spend that time instructing, but simply sit on his bed and listen to anything he chooses to talk about. After he falls asleep, go back into his room and pray for God to touch his heart.

Before correcting your child, “Examine your motives. Am I doing this because my will or God’s will have been violated? Am I correcting my child because he has sinned against God or because his behavior has caused me some personal discomfort, embarrassment, or trouble?” Pg 85

“We should expect instant obedience from our children. Teach them that God wants them to obey ‘all the way, right away, and with a happy heart.’” Pg 117

Don’t discipline your child if he has an accident (unless the accident occurred as a result of the child being disobedient).

“Ask your children how you can pray for them. Pray out loud with them. Pray often. Pray conversationally . . . everywhere so your child realizes his Heavenly Father is always available. Pray about little things like a lost toy as well as big things. Tell them of God’s faithfulness in answering your prayers on their behalf.” Pg 151


“If we could view all of their sinful behaviors as precious opportunities to teach them then we would be far more righteous in our training. We would be joyful and eager all the time rather than angry and frustrated.” Pg 70

“Children should be taught to obey because it is right and because it pleases God, not to get a reward. Giving them a reward in order to get them to obey encourages them in selfishness.” Pg 101

In discipline, “[y]our motive should not be revenge but love. It should be to drive out the foolishness from the child’s heart. Discipline shouldn’t be an ‘I’ll show you!’ mentality or a ‘Boy, your’re gonna get it now!’ It should be, ‘I love you too much to allow this sin to take root in your heart and grow.’”


You should never discipline your child without telling him exactly what he did wrong and what he can do to correct it.

When correcting your child for misbehavior, speak to him in a normal tone of voice.

Never warn your child or tell him to do something without following it through.

“When training is done properly, it should always end on a positive note. A child who directly disobeys mom in the grocery store should not be yelled at or have to ride home with an angry mom. This sort of discipline sends the negative message, ‘I am not pleased with you.’ Our desire should be for the child to ponder what he could have done right rather than what he did wrong.” Pg 105

Don’t expect your child to do something right after just telling him once. You must get them to practice the correct behavior, with the right attitude, for the right reason.

When your child disobeys, don’t look at it as a hopeless failure. See it as an opportunity to teach obedience so that the sin does not take root in his heart.

How this has changed my parenting…

It provided many helpful practical examples of how to handle issues of misbehavior by asking my child good questions that help him realize what he did wrong, why it was wrong, and what he should have done in that situation.

I think it is easy to get frustrated when our children misbehave because it seems to happen so often. This book reminded me that misbehavior is an opportunity to show my child the right thing to do, which will help develop his character in a positive way.

Instead of just telling my child what to do and what not to do, I have been encouraged by this book to help him walk through correct behavior so he knows what it looks like, rather than just hearing me say words about it.

 © 2011 The Family Project

Related Topics: Book Review, Parent Resources, Christian Home, Fathers, Mothers, Parenting

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