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1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2–12 by Thomas W. Phelan

1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2–12
1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2–12
Thomas W. Phelan
Formats available:
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Parentmagic, Inc.; 4th edition (October 1, 2010)
224 pages
PDF size:
1804 kb
FB2 size:
1992 kb
EPUB size:
1325 kb

This revised edition of theaward-winning 1-2-3 Magic program addresses the difficult task of child discipline with humor, keen insight, and proven experience. The technique offers a foolproof method of disciplining children ages two through 12 without arguing, yelling, or spanking.

By means of three easy-to-follow steps, parents learn to manage troublesome behavior, encouragegood behavior, and strengthen the parent-child relationship—avoiding the "Talk-Persuade-Argue-Yell-Hit" syndrome which frustratesso many parents. Ten strategies for building a child’s self-esteem and the six types of testing and manipulation a parent can expect from the child are discussed, as well astips on how to prevent homework arguments, make mealtimes more enjoyable, conduct effective family meetings, and encourage children to start doing their household chores.New advice about kids and technology and new illustrations bring this essential parenting companion completely up-to-date.

  • Jum
First, I’d like to say I have no doctorate in child behavior and the only expertise I can actually share in raising a child/children is my personal experience with my own.

I was first introduced to this book by my child’s pediatrician. They recommended this book b/c there were some serious attitude that had me concerned about my child at 18 months old. He would throw some serious fits to the point that he would develop a petechia rash on his face; he’d hit, bite, and pinch. I have no idea where he learned these awful behaviors from and I’m not gonna lie ~ it terrified me. I didn’t want to raise that kind of child, nor did I want to have that ‘kid’ in daycare. I wasn’t into the idea of spanking him. I felt that would just escalate the violence that he was already lashing out with.

So, after reading the book and careful consideration, we tried this form of discipline.

I’m not going to say that this book is the end all to bad behavior, nor is it some magical solution with raising a willful, stubborn child. My kid is almost 2 ½ yrs old, he is still constantly pushing his limits, and testing everything, and everyone. I’ve probably read this book once but I have refreshed/skimmed thru it several times in the past year. With saying that, idk if I’m in love with this book or if I just like it. My son still lashes out occasionally, but on less of an occasion that he did before. I’m giving it some more time, b/c it seems to be working… via the long route. But, who ever said that raising kids would be easy and full of short cuts?

While I do believe that every parent will have a different child with a different personality, this method might not be for everyone. But for us, right now, this is the method that we have chosen to go with and it seems to be working.

I also have downloaded and keep a summary pdf that I’ve found online of this book on hand for reference for baby sitters as well as family that I leave my child with.

I’m not sure if I’m allowed to leave this link here but if you google csgreeley.org 1 2 3 magic summary a pdf will come up – it’s 8 pages long and I feel like it’s the best way to make sure everyone that watches my child is on the same page as me. If they have questions, I encourage them to ask and even read the book.
  • Arthunter
my mom always counted with me when i was a kid so i recognized the topic before reading the book. this goes into more detail like how long to wait between numbers, what to do if your child won't stay in his location after getting to 3, what is a countable offense vs. what isn't negotiable, etc. i actually started counting before finishing the book (never did finish) and 98% of the time my kids respond by the time i get to 2, so to agree with the author, this is super simple yet really does work, at least in my case.
  • Burking
There are some great ideas in this book. The parts about not getting emotional while disciplining are great and counting is also a good idea. The part where I really took issue is about locking your child in his room, even if he is trashing the room (not to mention, the book never addresses how to get the child to clean up the trashed room, it just says not to talk about things after the time out). In trying what this book suggested, my take away was to use a different technique for the time outs. Making a child stay alone while he cannot self-soothe is really not a good idea. I'm not sure if this is meant for older kids, but this was not helpful for a 2 1/2 year old.
  • Hilarious Kangaroo
This is NOT another touchy feely parenting book. I've read all those and they don't work for a strong, independent 4 year old. This book worked the second i started implementing the 1-2-3 tactics and I don't have to yell anymore! My daughter takes me seriously now! My husband and I don't fight about discipline because he sees this work with very little effort. LOVE this book. Read it today, you won't be disappointed!!
  • breakingthesystem
Our little girl is passionate and has a hidden fury inside of her that gets released as soon as you engage. This book has helped me learn how to diffuse her stop (read: challenging you to a show down) behaviors with just a few counts. For her, time out is the first level of discipline with the follow up being a time out alternative of her baby dolls serving her time.. way worse for her! But either way it's really working and quickly. What to pair with this is just solid sleep and making sure you stay ahead of their hunger. That multiplies her fury by x1000.
  • salivan
Great concept. EXTREMELY Practical and informative. Helped me better understand my children and the type of parent I want to be. Use these tools everyday and so far seen behavior improve fairly quickly. Easy to listen to, got through entire thing in two days.
  • Kardana
This book was recommended for my three year old by our pediatrician. Very helpful but if you decide to use this method everyone involved in the child’s care needs to read and be on the same page when it comes to using it with your children. It won’t work otherwise, which to me is challenging since grandparents on both sides, daycare, and Dad all have their own opinions on how to discipline. That is why I gave it four stars vs five. It still is a very helpful book with many tips to help make life easier.
We love this program. If you follow it as directed, you will get results. My 3 yo son threw temper tantrums so aggressively that he beat holes in his door with toys, when he was in time out ( but you do not interact with him, or talk about the time out). After only a few episodes, he now acts appropriately when we start the count. The whining, crying and aggressive behavior is almost completely gone.