1 2 3 magic - 3 steps discipline for calm, effective and happy parenting - Thomas Phelan


She was a single mother of three and she was thirty-three years old. When she sat down and I had a good chance to look at her, I could see that Sarah looked like she had been run over by a truck.
I asked if she’d like to learn 1-2-3 Magic. “I’ll do anything!” she said.

Introduction - Parenting: Long Hours, No Pay, Excellent Benefits

Parenting is one of the most important jobs in the world, and it can also be one of life’s most enjoyable experiences. Small children are engaging, affectionate, entertaining, curious, full of life, and fun to be around.
Yet being a mom or a dad can also be unbelievably frustrating.

1 2 3 magic helps produce emotionally intelligent people—people who can manage their own feelings as well as understand and respond to the emotions of others.

PART 1 - Building a Solid Foundation for Parenting

1 - ORIENTATION TO THE PARENTING PROFESSION - How to Prepare for the World’s Most Important Job

1-2-3 Magic is based on the idea that parenting should be looked at as a profession. In other words, some training will make the job much easie.

Ground Rules for Effective Parenting

Effective parents are:

  1. Warm and friendly on the one hand.
  2. Demanding and firm on the other.

Being warm and friendly means taking care of kids’ emotional and physical needs.
feeding them, keeping them safe, warm, and well clothed, and making sure they get enough sleep.
Also: being sensitive to the children’s feelings: sharing their joy over a new friend, comforting them when their ice cream falls on the ground, listening sympathetically when they’re angry at their teacher, and enjoying their company.

being demanding and firm:
Good parents expect something from their kids. They expect good behavior in school, respect toward adults, hard work on academics, effort in sports, and relationships with friends that include sharing and kindness.
They expect their children to follow the rules, to do things for other people, and to sometimes confront issues that are hard or scary.
effective parents expect their children o respect the rules and limits that will be required for their behavior.

Some situations call for one, some for the other, and some situations require both.
what if your daughter, Megan, slaps her brother, Jon? Time for the demanding side of parenting. But if Megan feeds the dog without being asked? Time for the warm side
What if it’s time for bed? Both friendly and firm sides are necessary.
The friendly side might mean snuggling in bed with a child for fifteen minutes of story time before lights-out. The demanding side, on the other hand, might mean requiring the kids to get ready for bed (teeth, bath or shower, pajamas, and so on) before story time can happen.
And at nine o’clock, firm means lights-out. No ifs, ands, or buts.

  1. Warm-friendly: I love you and I’ll take care of you.
  2. Demanding-firm: I expect something from you.

Automatic vs. Deliberate Parenting

Automatic parenting includes the things you do spontaneously without really thinking (and with no real training), such as picking up and comforting a sobbing two-year-old who has just fallen down.
also include actions that aren’t so useful, such as screaming at a seven-year-old who keeps getting out of bed because she says she hears a noise in her closet.

  1. Hang on to your positive automatic parenting habits. such as being a good listener or praising your kids’ efforts.
  2. Identify your automatic parenting habits that are harmful, useless, or upsetting. decide how you’ll replace these negative actions with deliberate, respectful, and more useful strategies.
  3. Practice, practice, practice! Work hard and thoughtfully until the new methods become automatic.

Automatic parenting includes another critically important activity that you do all the time: modeling. Children are great imitators, and they learn a lot by just watching the way you behave.
If you are respectful toward others, your kids will tend to be the same.

The goal, therefore, is effective, automatic parenting.

2 - YOUR JOB AS A PARENT - Three Things You Can Do to Raise Happy, Healthy Kids