Dont Make Me Count to Three

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  • Dont Make Me Count to Three Study Guide

    bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

    The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.

    The simple truth is that all kids are sinners and will manifest sinful behavior. The question is not: Will they sin? The question is: When

    they sin, what will you do about it? Will you ignore them, scream at them, make excuses, or will you train them up in the way they

    should go?

    The heart is the foundation of behavior. Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. The heart is the well from

    which all of the responses of life gush forth. The behavior a person exhibits is an expression of the overflow of the heart. To put it

    simply, the heart determines behavior.

    Administering discipline without implementing instruction in righteousness promotes frustration in a child and is not proper

    correction. It is a two-fold process. We are not trying to make them merely moral robots (with deceitful hearts). We are trying to get

    them to understand the heart problem which is the root of the behavior problem.

    In order to help your child understand what is in their hearts, you have to develop your heart-probing skills:

    You must learn to help you child express what they are thinking.

    You must learn to help you children express how they are feeling.

    You must learn how to discern matters of the heart from actions and words.

    Our goal in probing the childs heart is to bring to him the sober assessment for himself as a sinner, to help him recognize his need for

    Christ. If the offense is made in public, do not embarrass the child. When you reprove the child in the presence of his friends, you

    take his focus off of the sin in his heart and onto the embarrassment and humiliation that you have unnecessarily caused him. Your

    goal is not to humiliate him but to bring him to repentance. Jesus taught us, If your brother sins go and reprove him in private; if he

    listens to you, you have won your brother. Matt 18:15

    Guidelines for Verbal Communication or Reproof:

    #1 Examine your motives.

    Am I doing this because Gods will has been violated or my will?

    #2 Examine your life.

    Have I provoked this in some way? What is my example?

    #3 Choose the right time and place.

    Do not embarrass the child. When you reprove a child in front of others, you take his focus off of the sin in his heart and onto the

    embarrassment and humiliation youve caused. Jesus said, If your brother sins go and reprove him in private. Matt 18:15

    #4 Choose the right words.

    Be careful not to replaced Gods wisdom with mans (watered down) terminology.

    #5 Choose the right tone of voice.

    Make the effort not to scold. To scold is to revile with boisterous speech. It is always an expression of a bad spirit and a loss of

    temper. The heart of the righteous weighs its answers but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil. Prov 15:28

    Teach them to obey all the way, the right way, and with a happy heart. Obedience should be all the way. As a consequence of King

    Sauls lack of complete obedience, the kingdom was taken from him. Obedience should be the right way. Delayed obedience is

    disobedience. God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and the consequences of his delayed obedience put his life and the life of others in

    spiritual and physical danger. Obedience should be with a happy heart. If a child is obeying with a wrong attitude, he is not obeying in

  • a way that pleases God. Do everything without grumbling or disputing. Phil 2:14 Feelings or emotions are the barometer of the will.

    When a child choose the proper attitude, the appropriate emotional response will follow. Are you choosing to have a bad attitude

    or obey with a right attitude?

    Worldly Methods Used by Parents in Attempt to Obtain Obedience:

    #1 Bribing

    The motive for obeying is, Ill obey for what I can get out of it!

    #2 Threatening

    Matt 5:37 says, Let your yes be yes, and your no be no; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. If we dont say what we mean

    we can exasperate our children. Its hard to take a liar seriously. Never issue a command without following it through.

    #3 Appealing to emotions

    Parents often try to appeal to the emotions of the child by making them feel guilty. However, this teaches them to be man-pleasers

    rather than God-pleasers.

    #4 Manipulating their environment OR Child-proofing the house instead of House-proofing the child

    By removing temptation, we remove the opportunity for learning. The principle that will be trained is this: If you can reach it, its

    yours. If I put it where only I can reach it, its mine. The child fails to practice self-control and obedience.

    #5 Reasoning with the child

    Reasoning erases the line of authority between the adult and the child and places the child on a peer level with the parent. Instead,

    clearly instruct you child and expect obedience.


    #1 Making excuses.

    Johnny isnt disobeying because hes tired or because hes at someone elses house. He is disobeying because he is sinful---anywhere

    and at any time! If behavior is excused, he will quickly learn that he is only required to obey at home, or when hes not sleepy.

    #2 Non-consistency OR Laziness

    A child who never knows what to expect can become insecure. If he never knows when you will discipline his, hell spend his

    childhood walking on eggshells. There is a great sense of security in knowing what to expect. Whats cruel for them is to live in fear

    because discipline is based on the mood, energy level or whim of the parent. People of all ages find security and freedom in knowing

    where their boundaries are. When disobedience is met with consistent painful consequences, they learn that God has built the

    principle of sowing and reaping into their world. Also, beware of letting small faults pass unnoticed under the idea that it is a little

    one. There are no little things in child training; all are important. Little weeds need plucking up. Leave them alone and they will soon

    be too great to manage.

    #3 Wrong motives.

    When the rod is administered in sinful anger or with a wrong motive, the child will resent rather than repent. And God will not honor

    our effort if they are conducted in sin. IT IS OKAY for the child to wait in his room for a few minutes while Mom prays and gets her

    heart right before proceeding with the rod.

    #4 Repeating yourself.

    If we are not in the habit of requiring instant obedience, then we are causing them to be in the habit of that.

    #5 Raising your voice.

    The child thinks, Oh, Ive got plenty of time. Moms voice hasnt hit the get-in-here-now octave.

  • #6 Worldly Techniques OR Count-down Method

    Children will rise to the standard their parents set. If you dont expect your child to obey until the count of three, then he wont.

    Why not expect instant obedience?

    #7 Too Big to Say Im Sorry

    Apologizing and seeking forgiveness for improper training or laziness in child training models biblical confession and repentance for

    them. Also explain how youve asked your Heavenly Father for forgiveness as well.

    Guidelines in Discipline with the Rod:

    The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.

    Childishness becomes foolishness when the child has been given clear instructions and understands those instructions but chooses to

    disobey. When accidents occur ask yourself, Did the accident occur as a result of the child being disobedient? Be careful not to

    jump to conclusions. The Bible warns us, He who answers before listening---that is his folly and his shame. Prov 18:13

    When is the Rod Necessary?

    #1 Direct Disobedience

    Children obey your parents in everything for this pleases the Lord. Col 3:20

    #2 Defiant Attitude

    Do everything without grumbling or disputing. Phil 2:14

    Discuss what the child has done wrong and why it is your responsibility to spank him. Guide the child in thinking through what he

    should have done. Use the proper instrument as your rod on the proper place. Let the child know how many swats you will be

    administering. Administer the spanking in private. Take time for reconciliation. Require the child to make restitution (go back and

    practice what is right).

    When training is done properly, it should always end on a positive note. The mom who takes the time to properly spank the child

    while assuring him of her love, and then discusses what he could have done instead, sends the positive message, I love you enough

    to train you in self-control and obedience so that you will make wiser decisions. He who withholds his rod hates his son, but he who

    loves him disciplines him diligently. Prov 13:24

    Exercise those Heart-probing Skills

    The Stingy & Selfish

    ________ has that toy right now. Do you think she is enjoying playing with it?

    Do you think it would make him happy or sad if you took it away?

    Would you delight in making your sister sad?

    Do you think that is would be kind or rude for you to try and take away something that he is enjoying?

    Thats right. Love is not rude. 1 Cor 13:5

    When ________ is through with it and puts it down, then you may ask for it.

    Why are you hoarding all the toys for yourself? Are you enjoying those toys? Dont you think your sister would enjoy them

    too? Or to play together with you?

    Jesus said, It is better to give than to receive. Acts 20:35

    Dont you think it would be a kind thing to do to share the joy of your toys with your sister?

  • The Violent Offenders & The Angry

    What were you feeling when you hit your sister? (Often it is anger.)

    What did your sister do to make you mad?

    Did hitting your sister make things better or worse between the two of you?

    (Caused by a provoking)

    What was the problem with what your sister was doing to you?

    Yes, _______ was sinning against you, but in what other ways could you have responded where

    you wouldnt be returning evil for evil? Romans 12

    If you would have responded with self-control and in a biblical manner, you would not be getting disciplined.

    To the culprit

    Were you promoting peace by _____________ or were you stirring up trouble?

    Proverbs 6:19 God hates one who stirs up dissension among brothers.

    Understand that anger is a God-given emotion. There is sinful anger and righteous anger.

    Are you angry because your will was violated (I didnt get my way)? That is sinful anger. Or are you angry because Gods will

    was violated? That is righteous anger.

    Even if that anger is righteous we must be careful not communicate that in sinful ways.

    When sinful anger is not dealt with it becomes resentment and bitterness. Righteous anger deals with sin by communicating

    Gods Word.

    The Talebearers & Tattlers

    Did you go to your sister first and try to resolve the matter between the two of you?

    Matthew 18:15 If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you.

    If the offender repents, then Ephesians 4:32 tells the offended child to grant forgiveness.

    Matthew 18:16-17 But it he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the

    testimony of two or three OR If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church (Mom)

    Would you rejoice in seeing your sister in trouble?

    He would delights in calamity will not go unpunished. Prov 17:5

    The Aggravator

    Judging from your laughter, you seem to be having a good time irritating your sister.

    Does your sister look like she is having a good time?

    Stirring up trouble is foolish. But when you promote peace you are wise. James 3:17 Do you want to be foolish or wise?

    Are you finding pleasure in your sisters suffering?

    Love does not delight in evil. 1 Cor 13:6

    To the offended

    Did you tell your sister that you were irritated by her and ask her to stop?

    A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Prov 15:1

  • Did you use a gentle voice when asking her to stop?

    The Cruel & Whiney

    In the book of James, the tongue is compared to a fire. It may be small but it is extremely powerful. A small spark can ignite

    and destroy an entire forest.

    Did you use a gentle voice when speaking to her/me?

    A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Prov 15:1

    THINK Was it true? Was it honoring? Was it inspiring? Was it necessary? Was it kind?

    You are being disrespectful and are not honoring me. It will not go well with you if you continue to dishonor me. Now, lets

    try that again.

    Are you asking me in a calm self-controlled voice? God wants us to practice self-control, even with our voice. You will never

    get what you want if you whine. Now, lets try that again.

    The Manipulator

    (The instance between Mary and Martha is a great example of this.)

    Do not answer a fool (or someone acting foolishly) according to his folly, lest you also be like him. Answer a fool as his folly

    deserves, lest he be wise in his own eyes. Prov 26: 4-5

    Answers like Whhhhyyyyy? or I never get to have any fun! or Well so-and-so isnt doing their part!

    Could it be that you are trying to make me feel guilty in order to get what you want? Do you desire to honor and obey your

    parents more than you desire to (play outside, or not do your share of work, or whatever)? Be careful not to become a lover

    of pleasure more than a lover of God. Prov 21:17 & 2 Tim 3:4

    The Interrupter

    Do you think is considerate or rude for you to interrupt while someone was talking?

    Are you thinking about others or are you thinking about yourself?

    In the instance of someone who is being harmed or is hurt, this interruption is okay.

    What could you have done rather than interrupting?

    The Usurper & Disobedient

    Have you obeyed or disobeyed? God says, Children obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Col. 3:20

    The Blame Shifter

    Could it be that you are trying to cover you own sin? When you try to hide your sins you will not prosper. God knows what is

    in your heart. Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Prov


    God resists the proud, but gives grace unto the humble. James 4

  • Rather than trying to hide sin, we need to expose it against the light of Gods Word, repent and ask for forgiveness. The

    destructive power of sin is in secret.

    The Complainer

    Is the attitude of your heart showing thankfulness and contentment or selfishness and greed?

    Do everything without grumbling or disputing. Phil 2:14

    Rather than complaining, what can you be thankful for in this situation?

    brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure,

    whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on

    these things. Phil 4:8

    The Braggart

    Do you words bring glory to God or to yourself? God will not tolerate a proud heart or an Im better than you attitude. In

    fact, pride is first on the list of sins God hates. It was what made Lucifer fall from Heaven. When we elevate ourselves we

    serve and worship ourselves instead of God.

    What does Philippians 2:3 say? Consider others better than yourself.

    The Follower

    Do you think this friend will encourage you to follow Gods Word?

    Do you think it is wise decision to be around someone who does not share an interest in obeying God and living a life that

    pleases God?

    He that walks with wise men will be wise: but a companion of fools will be destroyed. Prov 13:20

    Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals. 1 Cor 15:33

    Instead of condemning the foolish we need to pray for them for saving faith and/or Gods continued working in their life.

    Ultimately the aim of our efforts is to point our children to Christ. The relationship that a child has with their parents will affect how

    they view God and salvation. If we could receive salvation by being a good person, then God sent his Son to die for no reason. Sin is

    simply breaking Gods Law. We have all broken Gods Law. Because He is holy, he cannot tolerate sin. God is too holy to just write

    off our sin; the penalty must be paid. But God, out of His love for us, paid the price when he sent His Son to die in our place. Jesus is

    our atonement. He died so that we might live. As Christians, when we sin, there is forgiveness and grace found when repentance is in

    our hearts. Our children should see this reflected in how we discipline. God defines true commitment as never turning back. Turning

    to Christ from sin is a lifelong commitment, not a one-time prayer. A true conversion is Christ breaking the bondage of our slavery to

    sin and setting us free to be servants of Christ.