Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Book Review: "Don't Make Me Count to Three!"

Discipline Directions For a Mother 
 Five summers ago my family was on a vacation together with my husband's immediate family. One afternoon I saw my mother-in-law reading, Don’t Make Me Count to Three!” by Ginger Plowman. She didn’t have any "young" children at the time, the youngest was eleven years old. Yet, she still read a parenting book. It inspired me because she wanted to be the best possible mother. Needless to say, I was taken with the book. I happily received it as a birthday gift from her a month later.

Best For: Mothers to be reminded of their high calling to train their child(ren) in God’s ways; mothers who need practical steps to administer righteous discipline; mothers who have questions about discipline and getting their child(ren) to think like a Christian

Overview:  Ginger encourages parents to train their child in righteousness by “work[ing] through what a biblical response should have been [in a situation]. Second, have the child follow through with it.” In the book, Ginger answers various questions parents may have: 
What is discipline?
What is the responsibility of the parent?
What are the guidelines for verbally correcting my child?
What are the world’s strategies to get our child to obey?
How should my child obey?

 Few Quotes:
“It is not difficult to train our children to act like Christians. We have really accomplished something when we have trained them to think like Christians. Thinking like a Christian will help them grow in wisdom and prepare them to govern their own behavior in a way that will glorify God.”

“But don’t make the mistake that so many parents make and allow your desire for changed behavior to replace your desire for a changed heart. If you can reach the heart, the behavior will take care of itself. Keep in mind that it is possible to cause your child to change his irritating behavior to that which is acceptable without an actual heart change taking place.”

 “Most importantly, we are training them and preparing them to obey Jesus. Parents are often responsible for the habits of their children. We want them to be in the habit of obeying us the first time so that when they surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ they will find it easier to obey Him the first time. So before you begin your count to three, ask yourself, ‘Do I want my child to be in the habit of obeying God the first time, the second time, or the third time?'"

“A secure child is a child that knows his boundaries and is consistently corrected when he oversteps them.”

My Application:
In the book, Ginger shared how when kids are manipulative they are "acting foolishly".  I appreciated that because it's true. It struck a chord with me because that's how the Bible describes sin in our children. Proverbs 22:15 says, "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him." Our pastor, my father-in-law, taught us to use this word when our kids are foolish (disobey or sin). We tell them what they did was "foolish". We never tell our kids they are bad because they aren't. They are not bad kids. But, yes,  sometimes they are foolish. My husband and I do not want to speak it over them that they are bad, dumb, stupid, etc. In addition, we know our words hold life, and we speak life and truth over them.

 Also, I realized that most of my frustration as a parent happens when I have to repeat my instructions to my kids over and over again. But now, I look for opportunities to where I have stated an instruction, and I quickly respond if it is not obeyed the first time. I realized the hard truth that I am creating a pattern in my children and also in myself. In a way, I realized I have created my own frustration by not expecting them to obey the first time.

My Thoughts:
First, I love the way this book was written and the message communicated. As I read, it felt as if I was sitting down for a cup of coffee with another mother simply sharing about her personal experiences and how to reach the hearts of our children.

I love the chapter dedicated to “Managing the Manipulator”. It was very good and convicting. I was encouraged to not respond to manipulating statements, attitudes, or questions, but as Ginger says, “to answer him as his folly deserves”. I can't give a foolish response to foolish behavior. I must respond in a way that directs them to the Bible and God.

In addition, this book reminded me a lot of Lou Priolo’s book Teach Them Diligently that I wrote about here.

Ginger was so encouraging in the book to remind mothers of the high calling of motherhood from the Lord. I love when Ginger shared that "being a  mom is more than being cook, chauffeur, maid, counselor, doctor, referee, disciplinarian, etc. (just to name a few). It’s about molding character, building confidence, nurturing, training, and guiding. There is nothing like the influence that a mother has on her child. A mother’s influence has enormous potential to shape the person a child becomes, for good or ill.”

There were so many excellent points that Ginger made in regards to parenting.  She answered all of those questions listed above so well. It's a wonderful and very helpful resource for every parent. For my kids, fixing the outward behavior won't cut it, I have to  get a hold of their hearts.  If I don't, who will?


  1. sounds like a fabulous book!! I shy away from worldly advice, with the emphasis on taking care of ourselves first and then the family will be happy...this seems like a book I would definitely learn from.. thanks for the review and recommendation!

  2. QUOTE: "...My husband and I do not want to speak it over them that they are bad, dumb, stupid, etc. In addition, we know our words hold life, and we speak life and truth over them..."

    I so agree!

    Fab book review. Your children are very fortunate that you choose good, sound books for them to read.

  3. This sounds like a great book!
    I love the quotes you pulled!
    I have to agree...if they can't obey their earthy are they going to obey their Heavenly Father!
    Also ...change the heart and the rest will true!
    I love books like this!

  4. Thanks for the review! I have considered buying this book several times, but just haven't. After reading your review, I think I (and my kids) would benefit greatly from this book. Thanks!


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