Book 123 Magic

Review of 1-2-3 Magic Discipline for Kids

A discipline action for children.

Book Review by Jan Wilson

1-2-3 Magic, Training Your Child to Do What You Want,

by Thomas Phelan 

Count to three.
It’s discipline magic for  parents and  stepchildren.

1-2-3 Magic works best for toddlers, pre-schoolers, and elementary school kids.


In his book 1-2-3 Magic, Training Your Child to Do What You Want, Thomas Phelan adds a twist to time-out that works in most families that try it.

It is an extremely effective discipline form and also a very fair on.

According to Phelan, you must first rid yourself of an erroneous idea about children known as the "little adult assumption." Kids are not little adults; they are kids. Explanations, persuasions, and logical reasoning usually have little or no effect on children. They simply do not respond to reasons and explanations like adults do.

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Second, you must determine if you have a stop-behavior problem, such as arguing, tantrums, and teasing, or if you have a start-behavior problem, such as going to or rising from bed, eating, and doing homework or chores. The 1-2-3 counting system is used to deal with stop-behavior problems like whining, arguing, temper tantrums and the like. It is not used to get children to clean their room, rake the leaves, or finish their homework.

Third, remember that children often feel small and inferior because they are smaller and more inferior than adults. Therefore, if they can arouse an emotion in parents, such as anger, excitement, or some other feeling, they have "scored" with an adult. They often enjoy the temporary power the emotions and attention that "scoring" bring.

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You don’t participate in arguments. You merely count to three, then start time-out. When you continue to talk, argue, or show emotions, your child does not realize that continued testing and manipulation is useless. Until he realizes that it is useless, he will continue to try something that has worked at times in the past.

Let Phelan add this discipline form to your stepfamily. Books come and go but 1-2-3 Magic is a classic because it works!!

We started with the cassette, then bought the video. I would start with the video now as it allowed my husband and me to discuss our own family as we watched together. The video is also good for us visual folks. It’s worth it!!


Book Review: Copyright © 1998 CyberParent. All rights reserved.

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Returnto Blended Family Directory.

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Book Review: 1-2-3 Magic Book Review: Boundaries
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Copyright © 1997-2010 CyberParent. All rights reserved.

Note: The opinions expressedherein are exclusively those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect theposition of CyberParent. They are not intended to take the place of advice of ahealth, legal, or other professional whose expertise you might need to seek.



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