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1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 [Paperback]

Thomas W. Phelan PhD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2–12 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2–12
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Book Description

Feb. 1 2004 123 Magic
Addressing the task of disciplining children ages 2 through 12 without arguing, yelling, or spanking, this program offers easy-to-follow steps to immediately manage troublesome behavior with reason, patience, and compassion. Parents and teachers learn how to encourage and respect children's growing independence with 10 strategies for building self-esteem. Also discussed are the three most important qualities for parents or teachers to exhibit in order to foster competence in kids. Tips are included on how to prevent homework arguments, make mealtimes more enjoyable, conduct effective family meetings, and encourage children to start doing their household chores. This award-winning program discusses the importance of establishing and maintaining a home or classroom with fair and consistent discipline. This revised edition includes suggestions on how to avoid over-parenting, build children's social skills, and apply the program within mental health agencies and classrooms.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It will seem like magic May 17 2004
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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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life altering! 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read the book before you review July 25 2012
I love this book! The author stresses a fair and responsible method of discipline. To the reviewer who claimes the author suggests spanking - you have clearly not read the book. He says that he does not agree with spanking and that spanking is the adult having a temper tantrum and is not called for. A good clear discipline strategy will help prevent such bad behaviour on the parents part.
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5.0 out of 5 stars No more yelling! April 19 2004
By A Customer
This discipline method worked beautifully with my children. I also had my husband and babysitter read the book so we were consistent. My kids felt empowered beacuse they learned to control their behavior. I stopped yelling and bribing. I have sent this book to 4 or 5 families who were having discipline issues at home.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very useful Jan. 13 2009
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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