Monday, March 2, 2009

Don’t Make Me Count To Three – Ch. 7

Welcome to the seventh week of our book study through Ginger Plowman’s Don’t Make Me Count To Three!   If you didn’t read, no worries!  Just join along with us anytime.  It’s quick and easy to get caught up.

This chapter was full of practical suggestions for parents to deal with manipulation.  Her theological perspective of looking at how Jesus responded to foolishness is very helpful.  Instead of getting into arguments and power struggles, Jesus cut right to the heart of the matter and avoided the trap that was being set for him.

This is easier said than done.  If Grace doesn’t want to obey, my first reaction is often to argue and/or reason with her.  When dealing with a child who is trying to “get out” of doing something they don’t want to do, that kind of response can lead to frustration and anger.  Instead, I need to go straight to the heart of the matter and call her on whatever manipulation she is using to not obey. 

This morning, Grace was bothering her friend Caleb while he was trying to read a book, even after he asked her to stop.  I disciplined her, then I told her to sit on the couch with me for a couple of minutes until he finished his book.  I could tell she wanted to get down so bad and go over to him.  She looked at me with big, sweet eyes and put her hand on my arm.  She patted my arm softly and said, “I love you, mom” while slowly sliding off the couch.  She tried to cover her disobedience with a gesture of affection.  It was a great opportunity for me to practice going right to the heart of the matter.

My focus this week is to respond wisely to Grace’s foolishness.  I should not argue or try to reason with her.   I honestly believe that getting into power struggles ultimately lessens our parental authority.

I hope that many of you will join in and comment on what particularly struck you in this week’s reading.  Even if you didn’t read, feel free to comment on the topics raised…I look forward to reading them!  Stay tuned for a post next Monday on chapter eight.


Sarah said...

Manipulation in my children was a concept introduced to me a few years ago. I was shocked at how often not only I see it in them, but in adults too (myself included). A child who seems to be quiet, meek, and mild can also be a child who is quite skilled at manipulation. I appreciated the examples in the book of how to Biblically deal with children who are attempting to use this tactic with their parents.

Joanna J. said...

I agree that manipulation is not always evident at first...I also have a meek and mild child. I'm learning quickly to recognize it, though! I really appreciated the parallels Ginger drew between how Jesus handled manipulation and how we can handle it as parents.

Christa said...

I wish I had known about the sin of manipulation a few months ago when we were going through the "I don't want that. Yes, I do want that, No I don't, yes I do" phase. I knew we were being manipulated, but for some reason didn't connect the sin aspect with it. Now I know how to spot manipulation and how to deal with it Biblically. I feel my greatest struggle is pinpointing the heart of the issue. Does anyone else have a difficult time immediately getting to the true heart of the issues?

Joanna J. said...


Yes, I also struggle with getting to the heart of the issue at times. This is partly because sometimes I'm in a hurry or don't want to the take the time to deal with discipline in the correct way. Other times I'm just stumped and don't know what to do or say. I think time, studying God's Word, and practice will help me grow in wisdom to know the right thing to say or do. For me, it has also helped to have an older Christian woman as a mentor who has raised children Biblically and can help me see the heart of the issue when I am discouraged by a specific discipline problem.

I appreciate your thoughtful comments and I'm glad you're reading along!