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1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 Paperback – Feb 1 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Parentmagic, Inc.; Third edition edition (Feb. 1 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1889140163
  • ISBN-13: 978-1889140162
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #206,620 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
Now in an expanded and updated third edition, 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline For Children 2-12 is a guide accessibly written by Thomas W. Phelan (an internationally known expert and lecturer on child discipline and Attention Deficit Disorder). 1-2-3 Magic is an extremely straightforward "user manual" for controlling obnoxious behavior of children ages 2 to 12 -- and teaching these youngsters to be responsible for their own actions. Denouncing the fallacy of pretending that children are "little adults" when in fact they are often selfish or foolish simply because they are too young to know any better and need to be taught, 1-2-3 Magic focuses on a core system of counting to three, then if the bad behavior persists, punishing a recalcitrant child with a time-out or a loss of privileges. A central key to the system is not to talk too much or show emotion. Indeed, a parent should not explain more than once, as too much discussion tends to confuse a child. As the child grows older the benevolent dictatorship of parenthood gradually transitions into the more democratic process of raising a teenager. An astutely written, expert work, 1-2-3 Magic is very highly recommended reading for all parents, grandparents, teachers, and babysitters.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Littrell on May 17 2004
Format: Paperback
Part of what makes Phelan's now very well known system work is that, whether one is cooking rice or disciplining children, it's essential to have a method, the simpler the better. All effective methods rely first and foremost on how they guide us away from reactive and emotionally-based behaviors and keep us on the proper path. Note well that Phelan's method requires the parent to understand that "Too Much Talking" and "Too Much Emotion" by the parent will lead to failure. Understanding why this is so is the key to understanding why Phelan's method is so effective.
Usually parents get caught in the trap of explaining or justifying their prerogative. This can be done once: clearly I am the adult, and not only is it my responsibility to guide your development, but, because I have been where you are and understand your situation--mainly frustration at not getting what you want--it is I, not you, who are in a position to make the right decisions. Period. Indeed, this doesn't even have to be said once. Children understand, with or without realizing it, that Mom and Dad know better than they do.
So any sort of "talk" is not only superfluous but may obscure what has happened, namely that the child has done something wrong and the parent wants it stopped. Furthermore, if you talk, the child talks and the lesson is diluted.
Even worse is for the parent to get emotional about disciplining the child. It's your job, do it and don't get worked up about it because discipline is just a technique in the larger socialization process. If you allow yourself to become emotional, you muddy up the waters and detract from the business at hand.
Phelan's 1-2-3 Magic technique works and is easy to learn and implement.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David A. Saad on Jan. 24 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This has made such a huge difference in my life that I wish I could give it 6 out of 5 stars!

It has improved my relationships with my children and I have passed along the knowledge to many others.

Your kids will appreciate it too, even if not at the moment when you use it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mom of three on Jan. 13 2009
Format: Paperback
I bought this book after my five-year old daughter was suspended from her school for one day. She tends to have tantrum and becomes uncontrollable. As we have three children, we can not afford to let them run the house. It was time we took a firmer approach. I started to count as suggested in "1-2-3 magic" and it works well. We don't let our daughter have tantrum and make unreasonable requests any longer. Her behavior has also improved at school. Counting works also with our three-year old son. This book is easy to read and easy to implement. I read also "Setting limits with your strong willed child" that recommends the same approach. This second book is broader in its scope than "1-2-3 magic" as it explains why the children act as they do. Unfortunately, it is very repetitive and kind of boring to read. The book "How to talk so kids will listen..." gives good tips on communication but is not useful to get anything out of a strong-willed child like my daughter. Finally, another interesting book is "A family of value". It takes a very old-fashioned approach to child rearing. Some of the recommendations are a bit too extreme but it gives some good tips and permits to gain some perspective about psychology/psychologists in general.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca of Amazon on May 27 2004
Format: Paperback
Dr. Thomas W. Phelan is an expert on child discipline and Attention Deficit Disorder. He is a registered Ph.D. clinical psychologist and is also the author of many helpful parenting books. In this amazing book, he presents three steps to change the negative behavior and reinforce positive behavior in the future. The Index provides you with a way to quickly find the most pertinent subject you are dealing with right now.
The Contents include:
Straight Thinking - A section about how to stop negative behavior and start good behavior. He also presents the two biggest discipline mistakes.
Controlling Obnoxious Behavior - What to do when negative behavior occurs in public. How to handle tantrums and pouting.
No Child Will Thank You - Deals with serious offenses and the six kinds of testing and manipulation.
Encouraging Good Behavior - 7 Start Behavior Tactics, Cleaning Rooms, Mealtimes, Homework, The Family Meeting.
Strengthening Your Relationship - Your Child's Self-Esteem, Overparenting, Affection and Praise, Active listening.
I was amused by the information on "parental temper tantrums." I've seen parents yell at their kids and seen children reel from the verbal abuse. Then I've seen parents lovingly talk to a child about their behavior. Guess which works? How would you want to be treated? If frustration has reached the level where parents are yelling and kids are crying their eyes out daily, something must not be working. This book provides excellent advice and a three-step solution to every problem. Phelan has an interesting take on spankings and he makes an excellent point or two on page 53. He suggests that parents avoid the Talk-Persuade-Argue-Yell-Hit routine.
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