1… 2… 2½… 2 ¾… look, knock it off, already!
Guest blogging a review of 1-2-3 Magic is one of my oldest friends, Heidi. We’ve been friends for more than 20 years. This girl loves her family and friends, is deeply passionate about her causes, and I don’t know anyone who loves school as much as she does. In addition to being a mom, wife, gardener, and raw foods officionado, Heidi volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA).
Does that sound familiar?
How about: “You are grounded until you are 30!” Two days later, “Mom, can I go to so-and-so’s house” “Yeah, sure, have a good time.”
Or perhaps: “The reason you can’t do that, is……..**Twenty minutes later**….do you understand?”
We all have our parenting issues…whether learned from our parents, from well meaning parenting classes or even the University of Hard Knocks. Regardless of the differences, there is one thing that I hear from almost every parent: “I wish there was a manual that came with this kid.” The closest thing I have ever found is 1-2-3 Magic.
The 1-2-3 Magic concept is actually pretty easy to understand and implement. The biggest problems I can see with implementation is using it too much, not using it enough and following through with whatever discipline is chosen. It will also probably work best if whomever is caring for the children on a regular basis, also uses the program….or at the very least doesn’t undermine your use of it. There are books and movies available to illustrate the concepts much better than I could ever describe in a quick blog post. While I suggest trying to find a more frugal method of reading the books or watching the movies, you can certainly purchase the entire set of books/DVD’s/CD’s from the website.
According to the book by Dr. Phelan, you will use the 1-2-3, or counting method to deal with obnoxious behavior (like arguing, fighting, whining, etc.) not things like getting a child up in the morning, doing homework or practicing an instrument. The “magic” is not in the counting, but in the “No-Talking and No-Emotion Rules,” which makes the kids think and take responsibility for their own behaviors. The other main ingredient is short and sweet punishments. For example: If you choose to use the ‘time out’ method, you may want to use the formula: 1 minute for each of the child’s years on Earth (a 10 yr. Old gets 10 minutes of time out). So, when you count, you would say “Junior, that’s one.” Wait five seconds to see if he has taken control of his behavior….if not, you say, “Junior, that’s two.” In many cases, this is all you need; however, if your child continues, you say, “Junior, that’s three…take ten” (Meaning take ten minutes in the designated ‘time out’ location.) Dr. Phelan describes some tough situations like discipline in public and dealing with testing and manipulation.
As a veteran parent, I could see (even just in my own family) some of the problems that may come up. My husband, in wanting to remember to use this program may use it too much and it won’t be as effective…..or he might forget and not use it enough. He is also a “people pleaser” and might have a hard time following through with the punishment. All of that, though, can’t hold a candle to the offenses that I would do to make it ineffective, namely showing WAY too much emotion AND talking too damn much! If you are able to work through the possible problems in your own parenting/home situation, the program itself is really much easier to implement/follow than all of the other parenting programs I have been a part of, thus far….particularly Love and Logic. This program will work best if it is used as consistently as possible….which shouldn’t be a shocker; however, it may be tough to get all of the folks who co-parent or care for the children on board….not to worry, though, it will still be effective if you are the only person who chooses to use it. 🙂
I borrowed the DVD and book from CASA. When I checked them out, the only reason I was interested in watching/reading about the program was to get in-service credit; however, within minutes of watching the DVD, I was hooked….and interestingly enough, so were the kids. (I was watching it while we were eating dinner.) I think they liked it ’cause it promised that Mom wouldn’t lecture AND that the punishments would be over with very quickly!! James watched it with me the next night and he liked it as well. We have only “counted the kids” three times (two of which were the night we watched the movie….I think, ’cause they wanted to “try it out.”) and not once did it require time out!! We also avoided all of the other unpleasantries!! All-in-all, I think it is a fantastic program…it is easy to use, easy to implement and easy to maintain….what more can you ask for?