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Re: To Debbie (or anyone else who is interested)

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Posted by Debbie on September 08, 2003 at 20:09:46:

In Reply to: To Debbie (or anyone else who is interested) posted by Phil on September 08, 2003 at 11:54:41:

Hi Phil,

I absolutely would recommend the book for a parent of a preschooler. I have had success with both of my children using this technique. I bought my copy in Barnes and Nobles for about $8.95 or $10.95, it's paperback. I imagine it would also be in a library - it is not something that you have to order from the publisher direct.

The thing about 123 Magic is that it is such a simple concept it seems to simple to work, but it does, IF it is done right, which the book goes into indepth. It is basically divided into two parts - Start Behavior (when we want them to do something, like get dressed for school), and Stop Behavior (when we want them to stop doing something including unsafe things, which the book goes into also). One of the basic principles is what they call the "Little Adult Assumption" - meaning we as parents expect to be able to "tell" our small children something and have them go all of a sudden "oh yeah mom/dad, you're right, I really could have hurt myself or Susie, thanks so much for telling me that".....the book says, and I believe in my sake it is true, that we explain to much to our kids when it's not necessary, because we are supposed to be running the household, not them. After getting this thru our heads then they talk about the 123 - it is a "program", but not really, as within a week or 2 it just has become a normal part of daily routine, but it is also case specific as well - The concept of the 123 IS time out, IF NECESSARY, but the ultimate goalis to have the child stop the behavior before it gets to that point. They have one major rule for us parents, its called the No Emotion/No talking rule. Basically when the child is doing something you want them to stop doing (or start, but start uses another simple technique) you say calmly, That's one, if they continue, a few seconds later, That's two, if they continue then That's 3, time out. The child is brought to their room where they can kick, scream, wreck it (another chapter on how to handle this) BUT whatever they do, when time out is over, they come out. You as a parent say nothing about what just happened, even if they try and provoke you to talk about it. Sometimes a SHORT explanation is in order, especially if it is a safety issue.

They give 2 examples of the 123 - and I'm paraphrasing here:

Child comes into the kitchen when mom is cooking dinner and wants a Twinkie - Can I have a Twinkie, Not right now honey, But Why???, Because I'm cooking dinner and we'll be eating soon, But Mom Jack got one last night, I dont care what Jack got he eats his dinner, Mom that's not fair, I dont care what's fair and whats not fair around here, You never give me anything, Listen you have a roof over your head and food to eat.....etc. etc. etc. until the Mom feels so frustrated that she wants to hit (which they say is a "parental tempertantrum" when we dont know what to do, we lash out, and then regret it later.

After the 123 has been used for 2 weeks, the results are this:

Mom can I have a Twinkie, No I'm cooking dinner and it will be ready soon, But mom, That's one, Moooommmmm, That's two, Fine then...child storms out of the room, but this is ok, he/she has learned self control and it's over. Now if she had stormed out and said Fine then, stupid jerk, it would have been an automatic That's 3 and add 15 for the rotten mouth.

It is only my opinion (I know it sounds like I own stock in the publishing company or something, lol), but used and maybe adapted a little for your family, it shows results. This is not to say my kids dont still tantrum and that it works all of the time, because it doesn't, but it has certainly helped. I was excited about that, because it is the only parenting/discipline book I have come across that deals with the EXACT type of issue you just explained in your post and the ones that were explained below in the spanking post.

Hope this has been of help.


: Hi,

: I read your post in the Spanking thread and wanted to ask a couple questions about the 123 Magic book:

: It looks like it's one of those "hooked on phonics" type programs - you can't check it out from a library, you have to order it from the publisher. Is this right?

: Is it a "program" in that you have to follow certain steps on a daily basis, or is this more a book that will offer concrete tips for specific situations?

: Would you recommend this for parents of preschoolers?

: I'm asking these questions because I am interested in finding a book that offers tips for common discipline issues. I'm not into the idea of a program, but would consider it if it is indeed the best thing available.

: I was spanked as a child and I know that it can be a very effective way to discipline a child. I don't agree with it though and so far, we've never spanked our son. He's 4 and lately has been getting very mouthy, is blatantly ignoring our commands, argues with us when getting ready for preschool, and just yesterday endured several back-to-back timeouts while trying to get him to understand that he needs to listen to us - especially when his safety is at stake.

: So we're stumped. I don't want to spank him, but I must admit that the thought crossed my mind during that time-out fest. I've never seen him so angry, and he's never acted like that before. He was throwing things, screaming, crying, saying terrible things, pretty much doing everything he knows he shouldn't and as I extended his timeout for the 4th time, I was thinking it was a futile exercise (it took 8 extensions to get him to calm down long enough that we could talk about why he was being punished). I know that if I (as a kid) ever tried to do what he was doing yesterday, I would have had one sore butt - and that would have been the end of it.

: Anyway, if you or anyone else knows of a book that might offer some good suggestions for dealing with this kind of situation, I'd love to know about it.

: Thanks!

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