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1-2-3 Magic: Parenting Tips

The Six Kinds of Testing and Manipulation in Children

February 16, 2017 780 Views No comments

Who’s in Charge at Your House?

True or False? Kids’ self-esteem and creativity are both higher when they can “do their own thing” and they are not exposed to external limits imposed by adult authority.

Believe it or not, this statement is false. A number of studies have come up with the conclusion—which makes sense when you think about it—that kids feel better about themselves and perform better, creatively and otherwise, when they learn the boundaries for reasonable behavior.

The world itself has all kinds of limits and rules. There are rules for how to treat other people, speed limits, laws about property rights, rules for sports, interest payments, taxes, marriage. You may not like all these regulations, but if you don’t recognize them, you will get hurt and wind up more frustrated than you would be if you followed them. Parents are the ones who introduce their children to life’s boundaries.

How parents establish rules and set limits—or fail to set limits—not only has a tremendous effect on the self-esteem of a child, but it also affects the relationship between parent and child, the parent’s own self-esteem and the overall atmosphere for everyone around the home. These effects are enduring. They involve not just a particular hour of a given day, but they involve weeks and months and years.

The parents’ job here is complicated. It first involves coming up with reasonable rules. These must then be communicated clearly to the children. Then they must be enforced on a regular basis. And finally, when they are being enforced, children rarely say, “Thank you for your efforts.” Instead they test and manipulate.

1-2-3 Magic Ask the Expert: How Do I Handle a Child Who Sees Timeout as a Joke?

February 9, 2017 172 Views No comments

Question of the Week:

How do I handle a 3 year old who sees timeout as a game and does not listen? He laughs, constantly tries to run away, and does not sit still. I feel I spend more time trying to wrestle with him in time out and he does not benefit from learning what he did wrong. I finally pulled the pack and play out just to confine him for 3 minutes.

Do you have a question about the 1-2-3 Magic program, or a challenge you’ve not been able to resolve?

Ask your question now, and watch for your video here and on the 1-2-3 Magic Facebook.

1-2-3 Magic Ask the Expert: What Do I Do My Child Apologizes at the Count of Three?

January 31, 2017 1 Views No comments

Question of the Week:

What happens if you get to 3, say time out and your child says I’m sorry? How long do you keep on using the kitchen timer for? And how long should you set it for?

Do you have a question about the 1-2-3 Magic program, or a challenge you’ve not been able to resolve?

Ask your question now, and watch for your video here and on the 1-2-3 Magic Facebook.

1-2-3 Magic Ask the Expert: Tips for Staying Calm With Your Children

January 20, 2017 1 Views No comments

Question of the Week:

We have a 5 year old girl and an 8 year old boy. We’ve been trying to do 1-2-3 Magic for many months. My wife and I have a hard time staying patient, and especially after telling the kids the same thing several times over, we find ourselves raising our voices. I know that we are basically having a tantrum ourselves and that it’s counterproductive, but we still struggle. Can you offer any tips to help stay calm even when you're tired and frustrated?

Do you have a question about the 1-2-3 Magic program, or a challenge you’ve not been able to resolve?

Ask your question now, and watch for your video here and on the 1-2-3 Magic Facebook.

Dealing with Sibling Rivalry (One Mommy's Adventures - Guest Post)

January 12, 2017 5770 Views 3 comments

My kids are fourteen and sixteen and are graduates of 1-2-3 Magic, which isn’t surprising, as I have co-written two of the companion books to the original 1-2-3 Magic! I’ve been doing this parenting thing for quite some time and I will tell you that the behavior that my kids exhibit that drives me the most bonkers is fighting with each another. I’ve never been a fan of conflict. In my own life, I tend to avoid it (for better or worse!) like the plague. Since I try not to engage in battle myself, it makes me slightly nuts to listen to my kids engaging in it with one another. I can’t stand it.

I have good news and bad news for you regarding sibling rivalry. Bad news first—you simply cannot eliminate it completely. Believe me, I’ve tried. Siblings have been going at each other since the dawn of time (Cain and Abel, anyone??). Siblings will continue to go at each other until the end of time. My two teenagers still regularly spar.

Now, having said all of that, I do have some good news for you! While you can’t eliminate this behavior from your children’s repertoire, you can manage it. You can keep their little spats from escalating into all out wars. I have some tips that will help you.


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