Practice by role-playing. "Let's practice obeying all the way, right away, and with a joyful heart." Have the child play with his blocks again. When you call for Sam and he immediately comes to you, be sure to offer a lot of praise. "Jesus is so happy when you obey Mommy (or Daddy)!"

Scenario #3
Dealing with Complaining

It's that time of year again. The seasons are changing, and with Andrew's annual growth spurt, his clothes from last year are bursting at the seams. It's time to make that agonizing shopping trip for new clothes - the one that typically results in a battle of wills, a disgruntled attitude, and an annoying twitch in your left eye. How you dread even mentioning that four-letter word (s-h-o-p) to your little man! The torture of listening to his complaining makes it a gut-wrenching fiasco every year. Ah, but this year will be different. No longer will you view it as something you must endure. This year you will see it as a valuable occasion to use the Scriptures to show Andrew why complaining is wrong and how he can adjust his attitude to please God.

Probe his heart. "Honey, is your attitude showing thankfulness and contentment? Do you think the things you are saying will make this shopping trip pleasant or miserable?"

Penetrate his heart. "Your attitude is not showing respect for me nor is it pleasing to God. The Bible says, 'Do everything without complaining or arguing.'" (Philippians 2:14) Remind Andrew that his attitude is a choice. He can chose to have a good attitude even when he doesn't feel like it.

Provide a means of escape. "It is God's will that you be thankful and joyful in all circumstances. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) Rather than complaining, what can you be thankful for in this situation?"

Practice by role-playing. Whenever he starts to complain, have him stop and consider one way that he can be thankful for the shopping trip. Require him to verbally replace each complaint with a statement of thankfulness.

Resources for Biblical Parenting

Wise Words for Moms by Ginger Plowman
Don't Make Me Count to Three! by Ginger Plowman

Ginger Plowman, author of Don't Make Me Count to Three! and Wise Words for Moms, is an Assistant Director for Proverbs 31 Ministries, for which she speaks at women's events across the country. You can visit her website at