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4.7 out of 5 stars
1-2-3 Magic: Managing Difficult Behavior in Children 2-12
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77 of 77 people found the following review helpful
I can't say enough about this program. It works. It really, really works. I have four children ages 14 months to 7 1/2 years. It was our third child that brought us to our knees. He started the "terrible twos" at one and a half and didn't stop for two years until we started this program. A month before I found out about 123 Magic I told my husband, "we have to figure out how to parent/discipline this child because if we don't, he is the kind who can destroy a family and it won't be his fault (he's too young), it will be ours because we never figured out how to discipline him". We love our son very much but we had stopped enjoying him. Some days I was facing five terrible tantrums before lunch. And when I say tantrums, I mean he was getting himself so worked up that he would sometimes vomit all over himself. One therapist told us to do a "rescue hug" on him. Well, we did rescue hugs, sometimes for 45 minutes to almost no avail. It also wasn't realistic. I have three other children and I can't be doing a "rescue hug" for hours each day on just one child. I was in despair as to what to do when a counselor told me about 123 Magic. She told me that it would be easy to implement and that it would work. She was right. We have a different home and people who knew the before and after have been amazed.

In the video Dr. Phelan continually stresses that the two main keys to this program are 1)don't use too much emotion and 2)don't use too many words. When you watch the video it will make sense. He goes on to say that parents come up to him at conferences and will say that the program worked great for about six weeks and then quit working. He instructs that the program still works, it is just that the parents have gone back to using too much emotion and/or too many words. We found this to be entirely true. When a parent is used to nagging, lecturing, and yelling, it can be a hard habit to break. My husband and I did really well for the first six weeks or so and then somehow forgot these two main principles. Sure enough, the kids (especially the third-born) started acting worse. We have gotten back on track and it is working again. The goal as the months and years go by is that the children learn to internally monitor themselves.

In the video Dr. Phelan warns that about half of the kids will immediately comply with the program and about half will immediately test it. We figured that our third-born would immediately test and he did. We took courage, though, that in about ten days he would be through that. In fact, it probably took only about five. He is a much happier child now and we are a much happier family. If you have given up hope of finding a program that works, try this one. The beauty of it is that it works for ages 2-12 and all personality types. You don't have to figure out a different discipline for each child's age and personality.

Along with this video I bought the kids version of the book. I highly recommend to do that as well. We read the book to our three older kids and they were fascinated. And even though they still fight it sometimes, they really like the program because I'm not yelling or nagging much at all anymore. A few weeks ago my seven-year old and I were in a restaurant together. She saw a child acting up and she quietly said to me, "they should use 123 Magic." I asked her if she liked 123 Magic and why. She said, "because it gets kids to obey."
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69 of 71 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Our local elementary school counselor offered to lend this video to any parent who was open-minded enough to watch and listen. My husband and I borrowed it, and were pleased to find that Thomas Phelan's suggests an approach to parenting that reflects: parents don't need to share parenting control with our children, we ARE the parents! Part-way into the school year we teamed with the teachers to employ the tactics Phelan describes, and watched our boy chose better behavior and attitude, then improve his grades significantly -- without bribing, cajoling, begging, yelling, or concocting exhausting and ineffective 'shared-control' parenting schemes (as prescribed by some other 'parenting experts') to outwit him! We've now purchased it so we can refresh our knowledge as needed.
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65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
Format: VHS TapeVerified Purchase
I've used the "1-2-3 Magic" principles with kids with behavior problems who I was counseling, and my own grandkids, and also used the video in parenting classes which I was teaching to other parents and teachers. These methods really work.
Dr. Phelan presents simple, straightforward methods to deal with kids ages 2-12, with before and after vignettes, and with wit and humor. He covers many problem situations such as a kid acting out when the parent is on the phone or when you're out shopping together or in the car on a trip, always with authority and humor.
I reviewed numerous videos when I was counseling grade-school and high-school age kids who had behavior and/or academic problems, and their parents; I found nothing else which comes close to "1-2-3 Magic" for providing sound principles and methods for dealing with them. This is a complete system for dealing with kids ages 2-12. It also provides a good foundation for dealing with teenagers, though there are some more principles which are needed for teens (and the best source I've found for these principles are in one of Dr. Phelan's books, "How to Survive Your Adolescents".)
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on April 25, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
As a school social worker in two elementary schools (the technique is recommended for kids 2-12)I often am asked by parents how they should deal with their child's behaivor at home. The complaint is that the child will argue, refuse, question ("why? Why? Why?!), threatening ("I'll run away"), try to use guilt (" but you let Jimmy do it" ((resist the temptation to say that you like Jimmy better!)) and so on to get what they want. What I LOVE about this book is that it is easy to use! It teachs parents how to recognize what I call baiting behavior and address it in a non-emotional and non-wordy manner.
I have given this video (2-hours in length so get your popcorn ready) to countless parents and I have had NOT ONE negative response yet! If I call to check up on the progress at home and they do tell me things are getting a little rough again I ask them "are you still using the 1-2-3 Majic?" If they say "no, I kind of got away from that". I tell them to get back to using it! Consistency is the key and it ain't hard!
I'd also like to dispell the myth that using 1-2-3 is giving the child three chances to misbehave. This is ridiculous! Children are allowed imprefection, and a simple reminder or warning ("That's one") let's them know that their behavior is inappropriate. If they do it again they may be limit testing but this is developmentally appropriate at all ages ("That's two.) I guarentee you, if you even get to "three" it will be mostly in the beginning when they are trying to see if you will actually follow through with your consequence. And of course if the misbehavior is hitting or something equally bad you don't count from one; you go right to "That's three. Take 5."!
Funny, when I was using this with my 8-year-old daughter she tested me just like they said she might (mocking me in a sassy voice "that's one") I just kept calm and said "That's two". She didn't say a word after that! If you want a simple to follow plan for dealing with back-talk, manipulation, rude comments, begging, etc. that works like majic this is seriously IT!
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
I'm a 34 year old, stay at home Mom, trying to raise a 6 year old daughter. She's a very demanding,stubborn,and mature child. I'm also raising a 16 year old with Down's Syndrome,and my husband is away alot with work. Before I saw the video of 1-2-3 Magic,I was at my wits end with my little tyrant,who was definitely running my home. Every supper time was horendous,getting out the door in the morning was the same. She was upsetting the whole family and I'd basically tried everything. She didn't like what was put before her for supper,and never finished it. Her focus was on dessert. Getting up for school and out the door in the morning was just as bad. She didn't have anything to wear and what she did have was stupid,according to her. I tried punishing her with the usual things like "time out",I yelled at her when my patience was gone,I took away her privileges,nothing worked. When I was asked to view this video 1-2-3 Magic,I was skepticle,but agreed anyway. After just a few minutes,I grabbed a pen and paper and started making notes. It was as if Dr.Phlen actually knew me and my child personally. That same day after watching the video,I waited patiently for my beloved 6 year old to come home,and I sat her down and explained briefly,the way things were going to be around here. I picked some things out of the video that was applicable to my child,and instantly started incorporating them. She was appalled that she had to start "paying me" for doing "her" chores,only if "she" refused to do them herself of course. She has also started making her bed before going to school in the morning,and getting better at the supper table. I would definitely incourage all parents to watch this video,it sure changed my family's life for the better. It was a relief! Thank-you Dr.Phelan for relieving some of my stress and enjoying my beloved 6 year old again.
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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2005
Format: DVD
I have read many books on how to manage children with difficult behavior but this is the only method I found extremely useful. I am a teacher and I teach in a bilingual elementary school. The first time I used it it worked! I couldn't believe it. I think that all the teachers and parents should watch this DVD. I've watched it 6 times and every time I find something I've missed. I have tried it on very wild kids, it works so effectively. I don't get frustrated or angry anymore. This is the best 36 dollars I have ever spent. Thank you Dr. Phelan
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Never thought a person could make it so simple! This man tells it like it is and gives you simple ways on how to manage your difficult child.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
My wife and I both work outside the home. Mornings were insane in our house especially getting our 3, 4 and 7 year olds to cooperate just so that we could all be out the door on time. So my wife ordered this highly recommended tape for both of us to watch. Suprisingly, I found it entertaining, informative and specific with things to try. The counting especially worked on our 4 year old. This video held my attention and I liked the fact that I could replay a part to see and hear the exact words to use with my child. Having the specific example portrayed with real live children and their parents clearly and quickly got the point across. "The Pocket Parent" is also a very helpful comlimentary quick reference toddler owner's manual; it is written only for parents of 2's, 3's, 4's, & 5's. It offers alternatives to "time-outs" and hundreds of short bulleted suggestions for every challenging behavior you can think of like bad words, biting, bedtime refusals, sibling fights, lying, tantrums, power sruggles, and whining that can drive you close to your wit's end. We highly recommend this video along with the A-Z trouble-shooting pocketguide.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2011
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I liked the DVD it was easy to watch, a bit cheezy at times but the role playing usually is. Good information overall. But why I only gave it 4 stars is because it only covers the first half of the book. You would have to spend $70 to get all the info the book covers and that is just too expensive! They also should make it more clear that this is just the "Stop" behavior part and doesn not contain the "Start" behavior portion of the book.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 1998
Format: VHS Tape
It is a behavior modification so simple it actually works. I am a believer because of its effect on the whole family. Nobody seems to be the perfect parent, and this video enables you to see your parental decisions, and change them without the criticism. The frustrations, depression and child control fade with continued use. This method has been helpful in the classroom as well as home. Anyone that wishes to take control of their children and have a happy atmosphere must see this video.
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