• Book Review: 1-2-3 Magic by Thomas W. Phelan

    I read a TON of books about mental health, parenting, kids’ mental health, and combinations of all of the above.  A lot of these books are great and can be extremely helpful for parents. However, it can be overwhelming to decide which ones to read since there are so many choices out there.  In order to help you sort through them, I use this blog to write reviews of books I read.  I receive zero compensation for my reviews of these books.

    Today’s book is…

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

    by Thomas W. Phelan  

    Book Summary:

    This is a book for parents of children between approximately ages two and twelve. The book focuses on how to discipline your kids, without spanking, yelling, or arguing.  The book is basically divided into three parts, which it calls three “jobs” of parents:

    Job One: Getting your child to STOP doing something you DON’T want them to do. (Examples of these behaviors include whining, yelling, hitting, throwing tantrums.)

    Job Two: Getting your child to START doing something you DO want them to do. (For example, this might include doing chores, doing homework, going to bed on time.)

    Job Three: Building a strong relationship with your child.

    My Thoughts:

    I love this book! It gives straightforward advice that is easy to implement. The way it’s divided into starting and stopping behaviors provides a great framework for parents to keep in mind as they are disciplining in the moment.

    To give you an idea of what this book is like, I’ll share a little bit about the first part.  The main premise of Job One: “Stopping” Behaviors is to count to three and then put your child in time-out if they haven’t completed the task by the time you reach three. This sounds simple, but he provides tons of details about how to use this strategy effectively. He walks you through each step of discipline and helps you to troubleshoot any problems that may pop up along the way.

    For example, he talks quite a bit about using time-outs appropriately, and walks you through putting your child in time-out, how long to leave them there, what to say to them before and after, and when to use it . He even discusses how to use time-outs with kids who try to run away from it or refuse to participate.

    The criticism I have is that I do wish the author would have focused on Job Three (Building a Relationship with your Child) more than he does. I think this is the foundation of being able to discipline your child, and I wish he prioritized it more than he does.

    Click here to purchase the link to the book on Amazon (heads up, affiliate link.)

    And here’s the link to the 1-2-3 Magic website, where there are several different versions of the 1-2-3 Magic concept.  On the website, you can find versions of the book for using this approach with teens, how teachers, can use it and even the book translated into Spanish. They even have videos!

    Let me know what you think! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this book as well as suggestions for other book reviews.

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2 Responsesso far.

  1. Julie Wolfe says:

    I would like to see a book review for Mindset, by Carol Dweck!