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Thursday, December 27, 2012

book - 1-2-3 Magic

1-2-3 Magic - Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 by Thomas W. Phelan, Ph.D. 

I've wanted to read this book for a while, as I've heard it mentioned on the Mommy Stories Facebook discussion group and with friends. It was such a straight-forward, easy to understand book. In the first chapter I already made up my mind that I needed to write a blog post about it to share how great of a resource this could be for parents. It's simple info, probably things you've already thought about or tried in disciplining your children but it is a good refresher of why these things work with children.

Here are a few ideas from the book:

Your parenting job:
-The best parenting method includes these two things: warm and friendly, and demanding and firm with your children. (page 7)
- 3 Parenting Jobs: controlling obnoxious behavior, encouraging good behavior, strengthening our relationship with our children. (page 11)
-Do not assume your child is a Little Adult. They are selfish and not in control of their actions, it's just how they are. They don't understand your long explanations of why what they did was inappropriate. Stop talking and talking and talking, short explanations and reasoning with kids is best, according to Phelan.
-Use 1-2-3 counting method for:
whining, fighting, arguing, yelling, tantrums, etc. NOT for things like getting kid up in the  morning or to do homework (page 27)
-When the tantrum starts you calmly look at your child and say "That's 1" holding up one finger.... and so on to 3, waiting 5 seconds in between. Then if the child still doesn't calm down at count 3, you say "take 5" and have them go to rest or time out. Or you can take something away, make bed time earlier, etc. depending on the age, according to Phelan.
-After the time out, there is no talking, processing, apologizing, etc. They just go about their business. Explanations only happen if the behavior is "new, unusual or dangerous," according to Phelan.

"The 'magic' of the 1-2-3 procedure is not in the counting itself. The power of the method comes primarily from your ability to accomplish two goals. Your first objective is to explain - when necessary - and then keep quiet. Your second objective is to count as calmly and unemotionally as you can. Do these two things well and your children will start listening to you!" page 102.

There are several chapters offering great tactics that encourage positive behavior, as well as answers to questions on how to help curb certain negative behaviors like kids who get out of bed too early, etc. Great info for older kids too - homework help, technology tips, etc.

Overall a good read and mostly reminder of solid information that works.

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