On Saturday, 4/13/19, our first parenting seminar took place at Novi Woods! Amanda summarized the book 1-2-3 Magic by Dr. Thomas Phelan, Ph.D.
1-2-3 Magic is an effective method that takes the negotiating and yelling out of disciplining obnoxious behavior. This is behavior you want to STOP (tantrums, screaming, hitting)! In the book, there are also methods for getting your child to START behaviors that they resist doing (getting ready in the morning, etc).
There are two kinds of negative behavior kids have: Stop Behavior and Start Behavior
- Stop behavior is the stuff you want them to stop: whining, disrespect, tantrums, arguing, teasing
- Start behavior is the stuff you want them to start doing: clean their rooms, do homework, get up and out the door in the morning, etc.
Sometimes we think of children as little adults. This assumption is the belief that kids have hearts of gold and they are basically reasonable and unselfish. When they misbehave, we assume they just don’t have enough information to do the right thing, so we start ‘explaining’!
The little adult assumption believes words can deal with children, but persuasion becomes arguing and arguing becomes yelling and yelling can become any one of inappropriate responses.
This reaction is because adults don’t know what to do…they themselves are having a tantrum.
So, we can’t think of kids as little adults. In fact, they are not reasonable and quite selfish.
The Two Biggest Discipline Mistakes are:
- “Too much talking”. This always leads to talk-persuade- argue-yell syndrome. This doesn’t work because it either irritates the child or distracts them.
- “Too much emotion”. If you are praising your child, show the emotion, go for it. Praise away. If you’re disciplining your child, when you show too much emotion, your child sees they created that emotion, it doesn’t matter if it was a negative emotion, they like being in control. Having power temporarily rewards children. That’s why when a child does something that bugs you and you’ve been upset about it; they will definitely do it again!
So, let’s explore how to stop obnoxious behavior first. This is where you use the 123 method.
Say your child is having a tantrum on the floor at 6pm because you won’t let him have chips right before dinner. He’s banging his head on the floor, kicking your cabinets, screaming. You see this happening and you calmly say, “That’s 1”.
He doesn’t care, his tantrum is going full blast. You say, “That’s 2”. You get the same reaction, the tantrum continues. You say, “That’s 3, go to your room”.
He’s been given 3 chances, but he didn’t so there’s going to be a consequence. So, if he won’t go on his own, you pick him up and bring him to his room. You do not talk on the way, no explaining why he’s going to his room, why he can’t have chips & it’ll ruin his appetite. You don’t complain that he’s too heavy. You say NOTHING. When you get to his room, he goes in and he can do anything he wants. Play with his toys, read a book, stay mad at you, whatever. You may have to hold the door closed if he tries to get out. You continue to say NOTHING.
This is what is different than other methods. There’s no explaining, no negotiating, no rehashing the rules. They know what they did wrong and you are not about to give them attention for their negative behavior. After the time in his room, you let him out calmly. You say NOTHING. No talking, no emotion, no apologies, no lectures. Do not say “Now are you going to be a good boy?” What do you think he’ll say?! Do not say “Do you realize what you’ve been doing to your mother all afternoon? Why do we have to go through this all the time? I’m so sick and tired of you acting like this.” This just begs for argument. Remember, they’re not little adults. You can’t reason with them. There is no need to lecture because he already knows what he did wrong and he was already punished for it.
If you think this method seems like something you’d like to try, please pick up a copy of 1-2-3 Magic or find the video. You’ll find out many more tips & tricks such as how exactly to implement this program, and how to get your child to start activities they need to do but wont!