1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2–12 (123 Magic) Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 471 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1889140438
ISBN-10: 1889140430
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"An excellent, workable, and supportive resource for parents and educators."  —Booklist

About the Author

Thomas W. Phelan, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and a nationally renowned expert on child discipline and attention deficit disorder. His books include 1-2-3 Magic for Teachers, All About Attention Deficit Disorder, and Surviving Your Adolescents. He lives in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3802 KB
  • Print Length: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Parentmagic, Inc.; 4 edition (October 1, 2010)
  • Publication Date: October 1, 2010
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004GB1G2U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #199,689 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have a really independent and strong willed little girl who is pretty sure she knows everything already and is in charge of the home. I also inherited a bad, bad temper from my own father, and a set of unproductive and rage-fueled methods for handling discipline in the home. I was terrified I would squelch my daughter's independence and irreparably damage our relationship, until I read this amazing book. It's a simple, incredibly effective technique that gives parents a rapid response to quietly and calmly shut down any obnoxious behaviour, along with encouragement to provide constant positive reinforcement and love. It has revolutionized my relationship with my daughter, who now knows exactly where the boundaries lie and what to expect when she violates them. I haven't slammed a door since I read the book, and I no longer fear that I'm perpetuating a cycle of anger and harsh punishment. Highly recommend it.
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Format: Kindle Edition
My son will be 12 in a couple of weeks and he still instantly responds whenever he sees a my index finger. I first read this book and put it into action when my son was probably between 4 and 5 years old.

My wife never read this book but saw the amazing results I was getting and I soon heard her saying "one... two...". Neither one of us has gotten to "three" since establishing the 'baseline' when we first started using this system.

Here's basically how we put it to work: When our boy misbehaved I held up one finger and said "one". He had a second chance "two" but at three he got an instant 5 minute time out.

My son found those 5 minutes excruciating and figured out VERY quickly that:

1. He received consistently INSTANT punishment at "three".

2. His punishment time was extended for "bad behavior" while in time out.

3. Most importantly, he figured out he had the ability to avoid any consequences by modifying his behavior.

Fast forward 8 or so years to the present. My son has never been spanked or otherwise punished physically. He just got another straight A report card - his usual since he started school. The comment I hear most often from his teachers is that he is a "joy" in the classroom. He's polite and kind and no pushover either: he just earned a second level karate black belt.

I could go on for an hour but needless to say he's turning out to be an amazing person.

I still use the system but nowadays it's usually a discreet flash of a "one" or perhaps a "two" to let him know a course change is recommended. The only "three" he has seen in years is fair warning that his dad is about to pounce on him and tickle him until he begs for mercy.
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Format: Paperback
As a public school teacher and a mother (2 preschoolers and an infant), I struggled with this book. While I find some incredibly valuable principles in the 1-2-3 Magic system, there are several underlying assumptions (some of which are stressed repeatedly by the author) that don't sit well with me at all.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE
-Dr. Phelan describes 3 major parenting jobs: 1. Controlling obnoxious behavior, 2. Encouraging good behavior, and 3. Strengthening the parent-child relationship. This feels backwards. It seems to me that these three jobs ought to be prioritized and implemented in reverse order, because a child who feels loved and secure will naturally exhibit less obnoxious behavior.
-Dr. Phelan repeatedly warns parents against thinking of children as "little adults" who will act cooperatively if they have the proper information and sound reasoning, but instead suggests visualizing ourselves as "wild animal trainers." (Are adults all predisposed to cooperation based simply on years??) I will readily admit that my home sometimes sounds like a zoo. However, my children (even at ages 2 and 4) demonstrate to me over and over again the depth and beauty of their spirits, and the complexity of their thoughts and emotions. I want to foster an environment in which my children know that their feelings matter to me, and in which respect grows out of love and trust rather than effective crowd control.
-In an attempt to keep things light and humorous, Dr. Phelan's directions to parents sometimes come across as condescending. For instance, he describes a scenario in which "dad asked the world's dumbest question, 'What's going on in here?'" Levity can be achieved without resorting to insults and sweeping generalizations.
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5 Comments 279 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By Renea on September 11, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
By far, one of the worst parent books EVER. I get the premise of the book which is trying to teach the child appropriate behavior without getting so mad or hitting the child. That is great because all caregivers need to figure out a way to discipline a child without hurting or scaring them. But this book is the basis for what's wrong with today's children as it basically tells you to give the child complete control. Giving the child 3 (sometimes 4) chances to correct behavior, giving them the choice of their punishment, telling them you'll give them treats if they are good, paying them for when they are...these are not effective ways to discipline a child. Children DO deserve to be rewarded but not in the way of telling the child you'll buy them something if they are good (the book suggests doing something like that frequently). A child can be reminded that he/she needs to act a certain way and if they do so, then give them a reward but do not offer that prior to the engagement where you want to make sure the child is on their best behavior. Bribing a child is not going to make a child mind their manners and they will be raised to be spoiled brats who feel they are entitled. The person who wrote this book is a genius bc they are filling parents heads with a bunch of BS and they are making millions off it. Counting only teaches kids to push the limited so by following this books advice, parents are only making life more difficult on themselves.
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