I feel like I’m in 4th grade writing a book report. I’ll try to be a little more interesting than I was in the 4th grade.
Thanks again to Kristen from The Mom Trap for suggesting this blogging book-a-long. I’m really enjoying 1-2-3 Magic by Dr. Thomas Phelan. This is seriously one of the easiest reading parenting books I’ve read. For a review of Part I of the book go here.
This approach to discipline is so incredibly simple that I am somewhat skeptical about how well it would work on some kids. Part II of the book described the procedures for stopping behaviors such as tantrums, fighting, and arguing. His procedure uses counting to three to gain control. The most important thing and the “trick” of getting counting to work is in the “no talking/no emotion” rule. This means that when counting out a child, the parent is to NOT talk and show NO emotion. This will be a hard, hard, hard thing for me (and I suspect, most parents) to do. The purpose of this is to not engage in playing into our children’s tantrums and exacerbate the issue with arguing.
Dr. Phelan explained that when there is a behavior to stop, you count to one, then two if the behavior continues, and finally to three if needed. At three, the child goes to time out or loses a privilege. After the time out period ends (one minute for each year of age), there is no lecture or mention of the misbehavior. Wow! Again, I think this will be really difficult, but I definitely see the benefits of not continuing the fight. After a short time, Dr. Phelan explained that most parents can gain control by just counting to one or two.
One thing that I find to be terrific about this approach is in it’s consistency. This counting method is recommended for use at home, in public, in front of company, and for use by others (grandparents, babysitters, teachers). I also really like that this method is meant to be an alternative to spanking. Dr. Phelan stated that 99% of all spankings are parental temper tantrums. Personally, I don’t want to throw a temper tantrum and end up spanking my children. Finally, the book has an entire chapter where 20 “what ifs” about this approach are answered.
I mentioned my skepticism. It seems unlikely to me, that this would really work on anyone younger than five or six. For older children, I can absolutely see this method working like a charm. I’m really curious to hear from others their experiences with younger kiddos. I also question Dr. Phelan’s time out environment which he says is oftentimes the child’s room. He stated that as long as there is no electronic entertainment or access to friends in the room, then it’s okay for the the child to go in there room and play during time out. In my mind, I’ve always thought of the time out spot as being someplace undesirable. Even with these questions, I will definitely try out this technique when my son is older.
I have just a few more questions…Can we use this technique for our husbands? Do you think it would work to curb their obnoxious behavior?! Do I get an A on my book report?