July 15, 2005

It is Magic!

Our boys are rambunctious I'll be the first to admit. They occasionally do tend to get out of hand. They fuss, argue, tattle...the usual child like infractions. To curtail such behavior Darrin and I have tried several punishment techniques with them. We've used time-out, grounding, talking rationally (ha), and even spanking. However, none seemed to have a long term effect. Out of desperation, I recently began a search, a search for a better way. I knew there had to be one out there. It was evident that what we were doing wasn't working.

I began my search where I begin 99% of my searches.....http://www.google.com. You can "Google" anything imaginable. You'd be amazed at the results you'll get. Page after page after page of information....just astounding. What did this world do before we could "google?" Okay, sorry......after I "googled" discipline and received literally thousands of links, I started clicking. One of the first ones I was curious about was http://parentmagic.com. Boy, I thought, that's just what we need...magic! After reading the small article I was curious and wanted to know more. I went to our local library and checked out the book "1-2-3 Magic." Now, I'm not usually a huge reader and never have been. Surprisingly though, I couldn't put this book down. I soon realized that this was actually one book I wanted to have and call my own. I went straight to http://half.com and found a copy relatively cheap. It was here in just a few days.

Upon it's arrival I started back at the beginning, making notes as I went along. It's 202 pages, but chock full of simple, practical information on every single page. The author, Thomas W. Phelan, Ph.D., writes in a very fluid style. It's interesting, informative and, at times, humorous. He simplifies the task of parenting into three steps:

  1. Controlling Obnoxious Behavior
  2. Encouraging Good Behavior
  3. Strengthening Your Relationship

Now come on, it can't possibly be that simple, can it? The basics are this: the "1" is the child's first warning to stop the undesirable behavior. The "2" is the second warning and chance for the child to choose to stop. If he/she gets to "3" that's it, it's time out. Well, there's a tad more to it than that but like I said, these are just the basics.

After reading the book cover to cover, taking notes and planning our strategy, we implemented it. We sat the boys down and explained it to them. We could tell by the looks on their faces what they were thinking. "Oh, great! Here they go with another one of their plans. How long are they going to stick with this one?" Their concerns were well founded I must admit. Darrin and I aren't the most consistent parents in the world, which I'm sure contributed to our previous failures at adequate and effective parenting.

I am ecstatic to report, however, that it has now been three weeks and all is well in our house. We have been consistent in following through with the program. It's really not all that hard...just do what you say you're going to do. And, guess what? It truly is magic, or just works like it! The boys now know that we mean what we say. At first they tested us and did manage to get to "3" a few times, for which they paid the consequence. Now, though, they seldom even get to "1." I just have to give them the look and they know. Payton has even come to me and said, "Mama, I hit Garrett and I know, that's "1." They're learning that their actions actually do have consequences. They're also learning to take responsibility for their actions. It's wonderful to live in a home where there isn't constant chaos. If only we'd found this "magic" eight years ago. You go Dr. Phelan and thanks a zillion for giving us a happy home!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Shane,
    I enjoyed reading your blog. Thanks for the tip about the discipline book. I will check it out. I have a newborn (will be 3 months on 7/19/05).

    Feel free to stop by my blog:


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