Book 123 Magic Qa

Questions about discipline style of 123Magic.

Single-parent  families. Single parents often need help in disciplining children alone. Questions and answers about this style which is wonderful for single parents of  toddlers, pre-schoolers, and elementary school kids.

Questions and answers about the book 1-2-3 Magic, Training Your Child to Do What You Want, where Thomas Phelan adds a twist to time-out that works in many single-parent families.

Count to Three
Questions and Answers
A discipline style that can be taught to caregivers, your ex, grandparents and other extended family, even teachers so your child receives consistent discipline by everyone.
By Janet Wilson

1-2-3 Magic

Why such a short time as one minute per year of life?
You want your child to gain control of his/her behavior, not come out mad and ready to go to war. Remember, time-out in any form is not punishment; it is a time to gain control.

How long do you wait between counts? Just long enough for the child to shape up, about 3 to 5 seconds. Remember, also, that children have short attention spans. Therefore, if a child does three things wrong in any 20 minute period, count her to three. If however, the child hits his sister, stops at the count of two, then twenty minutes pass and he grabs her toy, start over with one.

Can you count different disruptive behaviors to get to three? Definitely. Johnny is hitting his sister; that’s one. He stops hitting his sister and starts kicking the wall; that’s two. And so on…

What if my child won’t go to her room?
Phelan suggests that you carry her to her room as long as you are larger. Most uncooperative children will stay a step or two ahead of you once they realize you are serious. The larger child can have a choice of a rest period or some deprivation such as a monetary fine or lost TV time. If that doesn’t work, remove yourself from the child so arguments don’t ensue. A well-stocked bathroom means you can lock yourself away from the arguments of your twelve year old for twelve minutes. Ahhh, peace!



Good book for single parents to buy or for others to buy as a gift for single parents.



Single Parents


What if the child won’t stay in his room?
Don’t start a tug-of-war or a major battle on either side of the door. First, try adding minutes of time-out every time he leaves the room. If all else fails, install a lock, explain what it is for, and use it. As soon as the child realizes the door is really a barrier, he will learn to stay put.

What if she destroys the room?
Leave it alone. If it is cleaned up, by you or your child, she can destroy it again at the next time-out. Let her dig for school books, pajamas, and other items until she has at least three peaceful time-outs. Then help her clean up. If she trashes the room again, leave it alone again until she repeats three calm time-outs. Remember: remove dangerous or valuable items before the first time-out with a potential room wrecker.

What if you are on the phone or have other people over? Excuse yourself and count to three, even if it means hanging up on a long-distance call. Children soon sense that you are easier to circumvent when you are on the phone or in the presence of others. If the other people, such as a doting aunt or uncooperative grandparent, attempt to intercede on the child’s behalf, Phelan suggests you become assertive until they learn to go along with your discipline system without intervention.

What if you are in public?
Children soon learn the power of public embarrassment, even before they are two years old. And, armed with this power, they usually try harder and more often in public. Don’t argue, wheedle, or beg. Firmly count to three, then look for time out places. Phelan suggests the following places for your child’s rest period:

  • Right where you are as you hold his/her hand
  • Leave him/her and continue alone
  • The shopping cart for small children
  • A corner of the public place
  • The bathroom
  • The car
  • Outside the store or restaurant if ages are appropriate.

What if you are driving?
Try no-talking or merely pulling off the road during the time-out period. Sometimes you can separate fighting children in front and back seats. This is not safe with small children, of course. You can also fine them in some manner for passing the count of three.

Try having them earn their spending money or treats for a long trip or vacation by completing certain periods of no time-outs. For example, if all children can go a certain time period, say, fifteen minutes, with no time-outs, they all get an amount of money or a particular treat on the trip. The secret is they all earn it or no one earns it. This stops, "But he pinched me," or "She started it." Phelan further suggests that you never leave home for a long trip with the kids without discipline plans. He writes, "Have the 1-2-3 and a few other tactics in your hip pocket, because you’re going to need them."

Another advantage of the 1-2-3 time-out method is that grandparents, other relatives, and caregivers can use this system. too. This gives a consistent message from everyone. Consistency is always the most important part of any discipline, of course.

Book Review by Janet Wilson: Copyright © 1998 CyberParent. All rights reserved.





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