123 Magic Book Review

28 March 2014

1-2-3 Magic is a kiddie discipline book written by Dr Thomas Phelan and beloved by many parents including parents of twins. To be honest, it probably has a bit of a cult following. I first heard about it on one my parenting forums and must have borrowed and returned to the library 5 times before I finally got around to reading it cover-to-cover


It's a good book. Even if you don't adopt everything it says, there's a few good tips in there that make parenting 3 year old twins easier. The 2 main lessons I walked away with after reading?

  1. Be consistent - give kids the same message about your expectations all the time, every time. 
  2. Say what you mean and mean what you say when it comes to behaviour and consequences for kids. In other words, no empty threats
So what happened next? Public timeout! 

I used to be one of those people who felt really embarrassed when my kids acted up in public.When they were acting up, all I could see was my parenting skills being judged and found wanting by the observing public. 
 I made their behaviour all about me instead of focusing on them. Being the smart young 'uns that they are, the kids quickly sensed it and take advantage of this weakness (especially in the grocery store). I realized that by being reluctant to correct in public, I was doing my kids a disservice and sending them the message that private and public standards of behaviour are different. They're not and thanks to a few lessons from 123 Magic, we established that!

It was a cold winter morning is how this story starts! Twin 1 wanted to press the elevator button but it's Twin 2's turn. So Twin 1 is more than a little miffed. To express her displeasure, she twacks my knees a couple of times. Smacks my lunch bag. Kicks the air. Kicks the innocent yellow "wet floor" thingie (all the while ignoring my nos) and I did something that 5 months ago I wouldn't have the guts to do. I disciplined her in public. She took a quick timeout by the nearest wall, apologized and we continued on our way. 


I read 1-2-3 Magic and grew a thicker skin and a pair. Feels like heading in the right direction

PS: For a more indepth review of the book, check out MandyE's post on the HDYDI blog and the review on about.com

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