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

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Complete with relevant Bible verses, explanations, and exercises, this guide builds on the enormously popular 1-2-3 Magic discipline system by addressing the needs of a Christian parent. Focused on the three main tasks of controlling obnoxious behavior, encouraging good behavior, and strengthening the parent–child relationship, this program is simple, effective, and can be Complete with relevant Bible verses, explanations, and exercises, this guide builds on the enormously popular 1-2-3 Magic discipline system by addressing the needs of a Christian parent. Focused on the three main tasks of controlling obnoxious behavior, encouraging good behavior, and strengthening the parent–child relationship, this program is simple, effective, and can be implemented immediately. Addressing everything from homework and chores to more serious tantrums and fighting, this guide teaches parents to take charge—yet refrain from any physical discipline or yelling—leading to happier parents, better behaved children, and a more peaceful home environment.


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Complete with relevant Bible verses, explanations, and exercises, this guide builds on the enormously popular 1-2-3 Magic discipline system by addressing the needs of a Christian parent. Focused on the three main tasks of controlling obnoxious behavior, encouraging good behavior, and strengthening the parent–child relationship, this program is simple, effective, and can be Complete with relevant Bible verses, explanations, and exercises, this guide builds on the enormously popular 1-2-3 Magic discipline system by addressing the needs of a Christian parent. Focused on the three main tasks of controlling obnoxious behavior, encouraging good behavior, and strengthening the parent–child relationship, this program is simple, effective, and can be implemented immediately. Addressing everything from homework and chores to more serious tantrums and fighting, this guide teaches parents to take charge—yet refrain from any physical discipline or yelling—leading to happier parents, better behaved children, and a more peaceful home environment.

30 review for 1-2-3 Magic for Christian Parents: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kelli

    I’m finding this really helpful. I like the no emotion approach to parenting. I think some things they plan out to do I will have to modify for my own kids. I love the showing no emotion in putting them in time out but I don’t always love to count down to time out. Usually I give one warning and then act on the time out. That works better for my girls. Counting to two gives them two chances to act out till the third one counts. I do like the cut and dry approach and have been trying more to not I’m finding this really helpful. I like the no emotion approach to parenting. I think some things they plan out to do I will have to modify for my own kids. I love the showing no emotion in putting them in time out but I don’t always love to count down to time out. Usually I give one warning and then act on the time out. That works better for my girls. Counting to two gives them two chances to act out till the third one counts. I do like the cut and dry approach and have been trying more to not sigh or show too much emotion when my four year old is whining too much or demanding things. I think it’s a great jumping off point into parenting.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Christy

    This book changed the life of my entire family! What an amazing and SUPER EASY program. I started seeing immediate results and no longer felt the need to sell my oldest child to the gypsies. I've been using this program now for 10 years and know it works. I had a child that used to keep me in tears and within a week of starting this program people started to notice and ask questions. His behavior changed drastically and he's now a respectful and hard working teenager. I'm still using the program This book changed the life of my entire family! What an amazing and SUPER EASY program. I started seeing immediate results and no longer felt the need to sell my oldest child to the gypsies. I've been using this program now for 10 years and know it works. I had a child that used to keep me in tears and within a week of starting this program people started to notice and ask questions. His behavior changed drastically and he's now a respectful and hard working teenager. I'm still using the program on my other 3 children with similar results. I even bought extra copies of this book to share with friends!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Elsa

    Final piece to the parenting puzzle, between Love and Logic, Scream Free Parenting, and Magic 1 2 3, our days are so much more peaceful and enjoyable. The hard part is staying consistent with the No Emotions Rule and No Talking. Not all kids will admit to liking be disciplined, but my six year old did say that if it's between yelling or that's one, she wants a that's one. Final piece to the parenting puzzle, between Love and Logic, Scream Free Parenting, and Magic 1 2 3, our days are so much more peaceful and enjoyable. The hard part is staying consistent with the No Emotions Rule and No Talking. Not all kids will admit to liking be disciplined, but my six year old did say that if it's between yelling or that's one, she wants a that's one.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Natacha Maree

    Did not read the Christian version, but the regular version has really made a huge impact on my views as a parent and my reactions towards my son in just a few days. Would highly recommend this to parents who don't want to yell (or spank!) but still get the kids to listen!!! Straight to the point, and easy to follow. A gem for me!!! Did not read the Christian version, but the regular version has really made a huge impact on my views as a parent and my reactions towards my son in just a few days. Would highly recommend this to parents who don't want to yell (or spank!) but still get the kids to listen!!! Straight to the point, and easy to follow. A gem for me!!!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Natasha

    Actually, it does feel like magic. I think this is a pretty great disciple book for the fearsome fours. I screwed up and wrote this review for the Christian version. I read the the secular version, where Jesus is not involved in discipline decisions for my kid.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Chad Warner

    This book shows how to discipline more effectively, to spend less time disciplining and more time on affection, fun, praise, and listening. The goal is to to get along with and enjoy your kids, instead of fighting them. It explains alternatives to lecturing, which is generally ineffective, and to spanking, which is often just a “parental temper tantrum.” It’s written from a Christian perspective, but any parent can use it. My wife and I read this because we’ve been trying to find an effective dis This book shows how to discipline more effectively, to spend less time disciplining and more time on affection, fun, praise, and listening. The goal is to to get along with and enjoy your kids, instead of fighting them. It explains alternatives to lecturing, which is generally ineffective, and to spanking, which is often just a “parental temper tantrum.” It’s written from a Christian perspective, but any parent can use it. My wife and I read this because we’ve been trying to find an effective discipline method for our strong-willed 2.5 year-old. We really liked this book, and immediately started using its techniques. Summary • Control obnoxious behavior with counting. Explain (when necessary) and then keep quiet. Count as calmly and unemotionally as you can. • Use the 7 Start behavior tactics to encourage good behavior. • Build your relationship with your children with affection, praise, listening, and one-on-one fun. Notes Straight Thinking • A root cause of failed discipline is the Little Adult Assumption: the unrealistic belief that children are basically reasonable and unselfish. • One explanation, if really necessary, is fine. Repeated explanations irritate and distract children. • We should show our excitement and emotion when we are expressing affection, not when we are upset with their behavior. • Your becoming upset makes your child feel powerful. Controlling Obnoxious Behavior Counting and Time-out • During moments involving conflict or discipline, follow the No Talking and No Emotion rule. This forces the child to think and take responsibility for behavior. • When child is being obnoxious or difficult, count 1-2-3, with 5 seconds between each. When you reach 3, there's a time-out or alternative (loss of privilege, etc.). • Time-out should be one minute for each year of child’s age. • After time-out, No Talking and No Emotion. • If child does something bad enough, jump straight to time-out. Use a “window of opportunity” between counts, based on child’s age. For example, child hits 1 and stops bad behavior, then behaves badly again in a few minutes. Counting continues at 2. For 4-year-old, window might be 10-15 minutes; for 11-year-old, 2-3 hours. • It’s okay for child to read and play in time-out; just no phone, friends, or electronic entertainment. • The power of the time-out comes from interrupting the child’s activities, not from the time-out itself. • Time-out should be somewhere that breaks visual contact between parent and child. • If child makes a mess of room during time-out, leave it that way as punishment. Help them clean it later when they're calm. • If child urinates on floor during time-out, have them take time-outs in bathroom. • Most spankings are parental temper tantrums, not sincere training efforts. • The Bible is more concerned that you discipline, not that you use corporal punishment. • It's not necessary, and often worthless, to have the child apologize, because the forced apology is insincere. • When in public, count as usual. For time-out, find a room or place. The place could be just standing there quietly, or going to your car. You can also use time-out alternatives (loss of privileges, etc.). • “Bribe” kids by telling them if they're good while you're out, they’ll get a reward. If they hit 3, no reward. • When in the car, used time-out alternatives such as enforced silence, fine, or pull over for a time-out. Having child serve time-out once home is ineffective. Bribes can also be effective. • Time-out doesn't start until tantrum is over. Misc. For bad behavior that's more serious than countable things, have a 3 level (major, medium, minor) list of consequences with variations of grounding, fines, chores, community service, and educational activities. Share list with children so they know what to expect. To deal with repeat offenses, offer a reward for a number of days with no problems. When you know some trouble has occurred, don't “corner” child by testing to see if they'll tell truth. If you don't know what happened, ask child once. If you later learn that they lied, punish accordingly. If you do know what happened, tell them you know, and you'll talk about it in 15 minutes after they think about it. Encouraging Good Behavior 7 Start Behavior Tactics 1. Positive reinforcement. Praise and other positive reactions should outnumber negative comments by a ratio of 3:1 or 4:1. 2. Simple Requests. Make requests in a businesslike, matter-of-fact voice, not in an aggravated, anxious one. Try to make requests in advance rather than interrupting child spur of the moment. 3. Timers. Challenge child to beat the timer in doing something you ask. 4. Docking System. Tell child if they don't do a chore, you'll do it, but will take it out of their allowance. 5. Natural Consequences. Let child suffer natural consequences of their behavior to learn a lesson. 6. Charting. Use a chart to track child's progress on something you want them to do, and reward accordingly. 7. Counting. Only works for things that take child less than 2 minutes. Nighttime Waking When child wakes at night: • No Talking and No Emotion. • Assume child may need to use bathroom; have them try. • No lights. Misc. • Despite the No Talking rule, it’s okay to talk if behavior is new, unusual, or dangerous. • Don't “overparent” by making unnecessary corrective, cautionary, or disciplinary comments. Don't say anything if a child can manage, or if they’ll learn a valuable lesson, or if the situation is trivial. • Discuss Problems, Count Attacks. If child is just explaining a problem, use active listening. If child is verbally attacking you, count.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Edward

    I really enjoyed this book, it was really clear and straightforward while helping me take an honest look at my own parenting habits. The author does a good job highlighted what "parental tantrums" might look like, and pointing out if your child falls into one of the categories it is because the behaviour is working at home. I recommend this book a lot. I really enjoyed this book, it was really clear and straightforward while helping me take an honest look at my own parenting habits. The author does a good job highlighted what "parental tantrums" might look like, and pointing out if your child falls into one of the categories it is because the behaviour is working at home. I recommend this book a lot.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    Excellent advice on how to corral the crazy chaos of life with kids and get back to enjoying the time together! I loved the practical advice and will be skimming it again to take some notes before I take it back to the library. Thankful for this book and already seeing positive results after just starting to implement the methods at home. Highly recommend!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Laura Rydberg

    So far, it seems to be working! I could go back to the second part and learn more how to encourage good behavior (and not just punish bad), but I'm happy with the results thus far. So far, it seems to be working! I could go back to the second part and learn more how to encourage good behavior (and not just punish bad), but I'm happy with the results thus far.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Crystal Swafford

    Best parenting book ever.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    A few people recommended this book to me. It was useful, I suppose, in that it made it clear to me that there are some approaches that I do not really like.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Adam Johnson

    Fantastic book and method. This is the best thing I have tried as a parent. It is easy to do and learn but hard to be consistent on. But that's not the programs problem that's my problem. The method removes a parent's emotion and long boring lectures to the children that they zone out on after you say "Why can't you understand.....blah blah blah blah blah". As parent we assume that the kids will rationalize as we do, but we are wrong. The are not little adults they are crazy, emotional, impressio Fantastic book and method. This is the best thing I have tried as a parent. It is easy to do and learn but hard to be consistent on. But that's not the programs problem that's my problem. The method removes a parent's emotion and long boring lectures to the children that they zone out on after you say "Why can't you understand.....blah blah blah blah blah". As parent we assume that the kids will rationalize as we do, but we are wrong. The are not little adults they are crazy, emotional, impressionable kids who are trying to figure out a lot in a short amount of time. The author describes a parent roll well. Parent are "Wild Animal Trainers". We need to train our kids not lecture them. They are smart they will understand what is needed as we are consistent. This method is fast proccess and it removes a parent's emotion. You end up punishing the kids for the deed they did, not over punishing them because after they messed up you got in an arguing match allowing your emotions to get involved and you end up sending them to their room for a week and no TV for 3 years, then you have to follow through with the punishment or they know they can do whatever they want. Our kids have responded well, but it is soooooo important as a parent to stick with the basic approach and be consistent.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Adam Ziarnik

    This book has been a lifesaver. I started reading it as soon as we got into the "terrible two's" phase. Phelan presents a 3 part strategy - stopping inappropriate behavior, motivational techniques for what he calls "start behavior" (getting your child to do the things you want him/her to do), and relationship-building ideas to help parents truly enjoy their children more. In short, Phelan has hit a home run No child is perfect, and no parent is perfect, but after implementation of the methods in This book has been a lifesaver. I started reading it as soon as we got into the "terrible two's" phase. Phelan presents a 3 part strategy - stopping inappropriate behavior, motivational techniques for what he calls "start behavior" (getting your child to do the things you want him/her to do), and relationship-building ideas to help parents truly enjoy their children more. In short, Phelan has hit a home run No child is perfect, and no parent is perfect, but after implementation of the methods in this book my two year old daughter has exhibited fewer tantrums, and better overall behavior. She is quicker to comply, and there is less frustration & yelling when discipline is necessary. I am learning how to better connect with her, and I am enjoying my little girl more. I HIGHLY recommend this book to other parents.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kristi

    I read the original 1-2-3 Magic edition of this book, but couldn't find it on Goodreads so selected this Christian Parents edition, which I hope to read as well. But I LOVED this book. Best parenting book I've ever read. Only wish I read it 13-years-ago after the birth of my first child. I still have two toddlers left to raise, and this method is already transforming our household. I'm forcing my husband to read it too right now! This book gives answers to all those questions parents have been a I read the original 1-2-3 Magic edition of this book, but couldn't find it on Goodreads so selected this Christian Parents edition, which I hope to read as well. But I LOVED this book. Best parenting book I've ever read. Only wish I read it 13-years-ago after the birth of my first child. I still have two toddlers left to raise, and this method is already transforming our household. I'm forcing my husband to read it too right now! This book gives answers to all those questions parents have been asking themselves for centuries. And it gives a step-by-step method and concrete examples on how to enact this program. I felt like I was a normal mom after reading this book, and that unfortunately, my kids are VERY normal in the ways they test, terrorize, barter, beg and manipulate to get what they want. No more! Thank you Dr. Phelan.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Darren

    Great book and great discipline tactic for parents. I have read most of this version and have listened to the version not specifically geared toward Christians (there is little difference in technique or tactic between the two versions). I will say that the method is by no means easy to master. It requires dedications, consistency, and self-discipline. However, we have seen marked improvement in the behavior of both of our children since beginning this discipline method. We've been at it for abo Great book and great discipline tactic for parents. I have read most of this version and have listened to the version not specifically geared toward Christians (there is little difference in technique or tactic between the two versions). I will say that the method is by no means easy to master. It requires dedications, consistency, and self-discipline. However, we have seen marked improvement in the behavior of both of our children since beginning this discipline method. We've been at it for about 6 months now, and we're still learning and adapting, but the results are well worth the effort.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rickie

    This book has some great ideas! I've already started using them and feel a big difference. I don't feel so overwhelmed and like things are so out of control with the kids. I just go right to "counting" them. It is hard sometimes to follow through but I am hoping it will be worth it. I find myself not wanting to get to that #3 and have to enforce a consequence, especially with my 3 year old. But I am going to keep going. We'll see how it goes. I loved the author's thoughts on technology over-use. This book has some great ideas! I've already started using them and feel a big difference. I don't feel so overwhelmed and like things are so out of control with the kids. I just go right to "counting" them. It is hard sometimes to follow through but I am hoping it will be worth it. I find myself not wanting to get to that #3 and have to enforce a consequence, especially with my 3 year old. But I am going to keep going. We'll see how it goes. I loved the author's thoughts on technology over-use. I disagreed with the author on a few minor points, but overall the book offers great advice! Wished I would have read this before summer break ;)

  17. 4 out of 5

    Pranada Comtois

    My copy doesn't say "for Christian Parents." I'm not clear why that is now part of the title of this book. I found the strategy of discipline that Phelan describes has helpful. My granddaughter has pushed me to 3 a few times, but usually we resolve behaviors when I say "1". I refer to the book often to refresh my memory when I hit a new developmental age. Great reference My copy doesn't say "for Christian Parents." I'm not clear why that is now part of the title of this book. I found the strategy of discipline that Phelan describes has helpful. My granddaughter has pushed me to 3 a few times, but usually we resolve behaviors when I say "1". I refer to the book often to refresh my memory when I hit a new developmental age. Great reference

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jacob O'connor

    Great book. This is the method I intend to use to discipline my daughter. Essentially Phlelan teaches that if your children misbehave, you should turn them into donkeys ala Pinocchio. Sorry about my bad jokes. Rather, you give them a 1-2-3 count, and after the three strikes, they go into timeout. Phelan has all sorts of strategies for dealing with the off-the-wall scenarios that arise for the modern parent. For the curious, he's opposed to spanking. I don't expect I'll spank Kay. Mostly because Great book. This is the method I intend to use to discipline my daughter. Essentially Phlelan teaches that if your children misbehave, you should turn them into donkeys ala Pinocchio. Sorry about my bad jokes. Rather, you give them a 1-2-3 count, and after the three strikes, they go into timeout. Phelan has all sorts of strategies for dealing with the off-the-wall scenarios that arise for the modern parent. For the curious, he's opposed to spanking. I don't expect I'll spank Kay. Mostly because I have sensitive hands (and you thought I was done with the bad jokes)

  19. 4 out of 5

    Janae

    My mother in-law actually bought this book for me. Probably because she has seen my four year old in action. This book was different that of lot of the parenting books out there. Believe me I have read quite a few of them. Like any parenting book I think you have to take what works for you and leave the rest. The ideas in this book really worked for our four year old. I recommend it to those of you that are frustrated with your children.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Erica Wagner

    Ugh I didn't like this book at all. I picked it up after seeing a user comment on an Attachment Parenting site. This is not for people into attachment parenting...The version I read did not have a sub-title about Christianity and I was more turned off when I saw that title here on the Goodreads site. While I imagine this approach does work, I am looking for something different for disciplining my daughter. Ugh I didn't like this book at all. I picked it up after seeing a user comment on an Attachment Parenting site. This is not for people into attachment parenting...The version I read did not have a sub-title about Christianity and I was more turned off when I saw that title here on the Goodreads site. While I imagine this approach does work, I am looking for something different for disciplining my daughter.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    The version I read was just 123 Magic, Effective Disciple for Children 2-12. I like parenting books with specific instruction and examples, even if I only cherry pick which techniques I end up using. The key idea in this book as the lack of emotion and bargaining in discipline, which I think is really key. It's going to be an uphill battle implementing this with Ruthie since she hates being counted at and time-outs, but I think it will help if I stick with it! The version I read was just 123 Magic, Effective Disciple for Children 2-12. I like parenting books with specific instruction and examples, even if I only cherry pick which techniques I end up using. The key idea in this book as the lack of emotion and bargaining in discipline, which I think is really key. It's going to be an uphill battle implementing this with Ruthie since she hates being counted at and time-outs, but I think it will help if I stick with it!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    Some good information and hints about discipline. I did not read the section on the Junior High ages. We are dealing with a very stubborn three year old great grandson. I needed all the help I can get. I picked this book up at a Little Library located near the Catholic Elementary School in our town. That part was fun. I will be keeping this book to refer to as "threenager" progresses! Hahaha!! Some good information and hints about discipline. I did not read the section on the Junior High ages. We are dealing with a very stubborn three year old great grandson. I needed all the help I can get. I picked this book up at a Little Library located near the Catholic Elementary School in our town. That part was fun. I will be keeping this book to refer to as "threenager" progresses! Hahaha!!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Stacie

    I have not put this into play yet but I like the theory of it. It is similar to what I already do, just more structured. I also think it will be something my husband can stick with because it is pretty basic. I think I will combine it with another tactic I have been using and see what happens. I am looking forward to getting started with this and I hope for good results.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Velvet

    I listened to the audio version and no religion is mentioned for those of you who aren't interested in that aspect. Very easy idea and I am excited to implement this with our kids. Just realized I entered the wrong book. There is one that is not specific to Christian parents and that is the one I listened to. I listened to the audio version and no religion is mentioned for those of you who aren't interested in that aspect. Very easy idea and I am excited to implement this with our kids. Just realized I entered the wrong book. There is one that is not specific to Christian parents and that is the one I listened to.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Sours

    This book has some amazing lessons and lots of examples. Not just examples of what to do but also what not to do. It does feel very black and white so if you are one to get offended this book may put you off. For me, I am opened minded and was able to take a lot from it. We use 1-2-3 at home with all three children (one autistic) and see a huge difference when implementing this in its entirety.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    I think this book is just what I need, though I think it will take me some time to be really good at it. I can't say how Canon is doing with it yet, since we just barely started, but even if it does not work, the book taught me a lot. I think this book is just what I need, though I think it will take me some time to be really good at it. I can't say how Canon is doing with it yet, since we just barely started, but even if it does not work, the book taught me a lot.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Erika

    This book was very helpful in understanding what I personally need to do as a parent. I believe the counting method will work for my son. I am excited to see what the results will be and to start having a wonderful relationship with my kids.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Good book about how to discipline children. Plus, I loved the Christian spin in this edition. Basically the rules are no emotion, no talking. Easier said than done, but works when you do it that way.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    So far....magic is happening. This has been great especially with my negotiator son. I don't have to explain and lecture...blah blah blah...who cares. I just give him a 1 and we can call it good. Great book! I recommend this with any children that have a problem being annoying sometimes. :) So far....magic is happening. This has been great especially with my negotiator son. I don't have to explain and lecture...blah blah blah...who cares. I just give him a 1 and we can call it good. Great book! I recommend this with any children that have a problem being annoying sometimes. :)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    I actually read 1-2-3 Magic, Effective Discipline for Children 2-12. I wasn't aware of the Christian version until it was the one that popped up from my search here on GoodReads. My husband and I are giving it a go. I actually read 1-2-3 Magic, Effective Discipline for Children 2-12. I wasn't aware of the Christian version until it was the one that popped up from my search here on GoodReads. My husband and I are giving it a go.

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