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1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 33 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2005


    Tom Phelan presented a discipline program recently to my school district. He was sensible...and we bought his book. His advice is practical and well tested. His book sites many specific examples of what our kids do and say and what WE can do differently to change THEIR behavior. He addresses discipline regarding 2 types of behaviors... 'STOP' behavior (like bad words, hitting, whining and disrespectful attitude)and 'START' behavior ( like getting the kids to do their homework, chores, clean up, use manners etc.) He emphasizes that 'the Magic' it is not so much the counting of...1, 2, 3 but rather how you choose to say a calm yet athoritative manner so that the child knows the parent means business. He also talked about the importance of discussion outside the heat of the moment with the child either in a one-on-one discussion or a family meeting. Our 2-way communication with our children now involves more listening to one another and less lecturing. I realized that I had been doing the count all wrong expecting the magic to happen...threatening and screaming the numbers at the top of my lungs finding myself reaching 2 and 3/4...2 and 7/8 and feeling my kids were in total control and that I was a failure with the technique that was working so well for my neighbor. Listening to Dr. Phelan and reading his book has taught me how to use this method correctly and to my surprise it is actually now working with my 6 and 8 year old. If you have a toddler or preschooler like me, I found many more age appropriate positive discipline strategies in another complementary A-Z guide for parents of 2's, 3's, 4's and 5's...called 'The Pocket Parent'. Exclusively written only for this challenging 4 year age span, this book is chock full of hundreds of brief, specific bulleted suggestions and examples of handling the behaviors that drive you close to your wits' end! Both books are very compatible in philosophy and are worthy additions to your home library...POCKET PARENT for the little ones and 1,2,3 MAGIC for all ages.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2004

    I no longer have to raise my voice or get in yelling matches with my daughter!!

    I always tried the logical approach with my daughter, but it almost always turned into an argument or a yelling match, with each of us trying to be heard over the other. I never felt that it accomplished anything other than my guilty feeling of having raised my voice. But, I didn't know what else to do. That is how discipline was handled when I was growing up, and that is the only way that I knew how to handle it. Thank god a teacher recommended this book to me. I found out that less really is more. I read the whole book - and that is the best advice that I got - read the WHOLE book before you try to implement the process. It is not like alot of other books that are filled with psychological mumbo jumbo. It is not very long and actually fun to read. After I finished it I discussed the process with my daughter and set up the guidelines that we both adhere to. Now, when things get out of hand, I say 'One' and the air begins to clear right away. Prior to reading this, I personally thought that these people that I saw counting at their children were ludicrous. However, I found out very quickly that it really does work!! It also does a great job of taking control of the emotional turmoil that can surround other methods of discipline. I highly recommend this book for ANYONE raising a child.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2003

    Get control of your house, before your kids do!

    I checked this book out from the library based on a recommendation from our son's speech therapist. Our son had finally started to talk, but more than half of his vocabulary seemed to be back talk. We were already trying to use time outs with him, but what we were doing wrong was over-explaining to him why he had the time out. I'm a talker, and this book guided me to the no talking, no emotion phase, which allowed me to effectively gain control of our house. My daycare provider borrowed the book, she is now using it on her daughter and on my son as well (although he doesn't challenge her as much as he does my husband and I), but the consistency is just great. I can't rave enough about this book.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 18, 2009

    It Really Is Magic!

    My son is 26 months old and I was a little skeptical about him really understanding this program well enough for it to work. I was wrong! After a few timeouts, he figured it out and now complies with most of my requests by the time I count to 2. The hidden benefit of this program is how calm I feel now. I used to get so upset with him and yell at him, but I'm able to stay quiet and calm and it makes me feel like a better mom. I would recommend this book to anyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2005

    Great for parents w/problem children ie:bipolar, etc.

    I have a child with Mood Disorder N.O.S. which is a mixture of Bipolar, ADHD, Anxiety, etc. and this book has helped GREATLY in achieving a once again balanced household and helped her immensly in keeping her anger in check. She makes wiser decisions now. I've struggled with every form of discipline out there, I've read tons of books and attended even more parenting classes. I wish I would have had this book 4 years ago, it would have saved me and my children a lot of valuable time and heartache. Friends and family have requested copies of the books and dvd's because quite frankly, they work! This method is the best I've ever encountered. It puts the control back in the parents hands but leaves choices available to your children. I have no doubt in my mind now that I am raising children who will become constructive adults. The methods in this book literally worked magic in my household in just 2 weeks. It's a totally new and peaceful environment in my home once again. Stick with it, it's worth it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 20, 2011

    A MUST HAVE for parents of ADHD/ODD children

    This purchase of this book was the life changing event that took place in our household. As an educator, I felt like I should know what to do, or how to handle children with ADHD. After all, I have those very same students within my classroom daily. However, the saying "it is always different with your own" is VERY true. When our school psychologist made the recommendation of 1-2-3 magic, I was willing to try anything at that point. This was the BEST recommendation anyone has given. It is not only VERY simple, but VERY effective. You will see immediate results. It is not the many other systems that takes time and effort. It removed the STRESS out of our household immediately. I not only use it in my classroom daily, but have also now conducted staff development workshops within our school to incorporate this "magic" school wide! Thank you Dr. Phelan!!!

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  • Posted May 15, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Amazing book!

    This is a well written book by a man who KNOWS kids. I have a 3 and 4 year old that have been running amuck in my home. I've tried EVERY possibly parenting technique from spanking to the naughty step (consistently) and nothing was working. This worked WONDERS on my 4 year old. She responded the first day and is such a wonderful joy to be around now. My 3 year old (newly turned 3), is the "immediate tester" the book talks about. We have only been implementing for 7 days now, and the book states 10 days for effect on those children. We're seeing some turn around in behavior toward the positive, but we have some time still. But all in all, a HIGHLY recommended book. There's no physical punishment to the child, and "parental temper tantrums" are minimized.

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  • Posted April 25, 2010

    Highly Recommended Book

    I started having discipline problems with my 3 1/2 year old and brought the issues up with my pediatrican. He said he usually doesn't recommend books but he had the same issues with his kids and read this book. I got right online and ordered 1,2,3 Magic and figured it couldn't hurt to try. I think the concepts in this book are great! It's an easy read and is so simple to implement. No fancy charts, no difficult plans of action. Just simple words and it really is magic. Just by counting my son responded right away. I love that the book also shows you different scenarios and how to respond to each. That was very helpful. I highly recommend this book to everyone who feels they 1-need a good form of discipline, or 2- have tried everything and feel they are at their wits end. I know I've already recommended it to all my friends. Thanks Thomas Phelan for writing such a great book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2010

    FANASTIC for All Kids

    I have three children - 5 1/2 year old compliant child, 4 year old "strong-willed" child, and a 22 mo old. This program is working for all three! I'm not sure about the "magic", but it definitely has helped us turn a corner as we await the arrival of #4!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2010

    Great book!

    I used the concepts from the book to guide me through raising my children and now my daughter is reading the book to raise her children.

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  • Posted January 30, 2010

    What a wonderful concept

    I have use this method of discipline with all three of my kids.It's much better than physical discpline that I was brought up with. Most of the time all I had to do was to get to the count of 2 and the bad behavior either stopped or they knew that if I got to three they were in timeout. I would recommand this to every parent.

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  • Posted April 6, 2009

    Great Book In Dealing With My 'Difficult' Two-Year Old!

    This book was recommended to me because my two year old has a somewhat difficult temperament and after buying a copy and reading it through, I couldn't thank my friend enough. I began implementing the techniques right away and thankfully my daughter was extremely responsive. We did run into some resistance later on, but have stayed on track with the counting and seem to be returning to even ground. There are a lot of good techinques for older children as well, which don't apply to us right now but we look forward to using them in the future. Overall I really enjoyed this book and thought it has some very usable ideas.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2008

    Couldn't be more glad!

    We heard about this strategy being used on our niece and nephews but the book provided a fine blue-print on how to approach it. Highly recommended!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2007

    The Best out there!

    This makes so much sense. It totally works with both my kids boy/girl, 5/4. They are so used to it, I only need to hold up my finger to represent the number one and they start to behave- that works for me, no nagging!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2006

    It's working already! Excellent Book!!

    It's been a week since I started to put what I learned into practice & I can see a difference already. There's less yelling. And things like bedtime & dinnertime, are running more smoothly! My only regret is that I wish I'd read this sooner!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2005

    It is a book with magic advise

    Its title says it all it is magic!, but do not get discuraged it takes work, and after you establish your boundaries is going to be MAGICAL...remember it gets worser before it can get better... Trust me on this one this book is worth every penny.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2004

    Love it !

    Oh my gosh, I am soooo glad I bought this book. I have 3 sons and was tired of feeling like a referee all the time. This book makes total sense and I agree on everything he says. I started counting with my oldest after I read it and it worked almost immediately. You will not regret your purchase. This book was recommended by others who had used it and I am glad I followed their advice. Your house will be much quieter with no more yelling, whining, bickering, etc.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2003

    This book was Highly recommended....

    As a Babysitter and a DayCare/Child Care Provider, this book was highly recommended...I cant wait to read it...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2003

    Finally, a plan that works and teaches the child self- control!!

    This is the best plan I have seen yet. I disagree with the woman who gave it one star. The behaviors that the children repeat, repeat and did I mention repeat are not given any credit with this plan! My daughters have 2 different personalities and with one always feeling like she was in trouble this book helps her see herself and stop the behavior. I am also finally able to acknoweldge instances the other child can learn more self-control over whining and being a victim. I don't have to go on and on why, when truly an 81/2 yr. old is smart enough to know why I don't permit her controlling this household. I was finally able to end my guilty feelings and put into perspective/action that she is a child and NOT A LITTLE ADULT! This book is able to help you right away and this past weekend (even with somewhat tired children) has been the best, calmest, happiest weekend in years! My husband and I actually fininshed conversations and were'nt battling each other on the correct discipline of the children. It gave us back the power to control the household and the children a calmer home with no grey lines on acceptable behavior. And, even though a child threatened running away yesterday, by not reacting emotionally by nightime she was praising me and telling me she loved me (thank you 1-2-3 magic!). I have learned not to bring up the past and let us both move forward!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2003

    Adults do not compromise authority: Situations do not esculate: Children are not harmed

    As a Childcare provider and mother of 3, I have found 1,2,3, Magic to be a God Send. At a point in my life where I was at the end of my rope with my middle child this book was recommended to me. Before 1,2,3, Magic there was so much yelling, tension, and stress. Our house was not happy. After a weekend of using 1,2,3, Magic, we had a happy house. A house where Mommy and Daddy weren't constantly disciplining and yelling. A house were more time could be devoted to positive behavior because 1,2,3, Magic does not allow nonsense behavior to escalate. The mehtod does not compormise the children because it is far less damaging for children to be sent for a 5 minute break than to be yelled at or eventually spanked all because they are testing limits. The method is in a sort a way for parents to control their anger and stress and not lead to yelling, etc. Adult authority is not compromised because children are treated as children, not little adults. This makes it easier for those 'old schoolers' to accept that children do not have to be spanked to have control over your home. After 6 months of using 1,2,3, Magic, I am happier, my home is happier and most importantly my children are happier.

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