Silence Speaks Louder Than Words: Discipline with an Audience
According to Dr. Thomas W. Phelan, creator of the 1-2-3 Magic program, your silence speaks louder than your words. Instead of pleading, persuading or arguing, you hold up one finger and say, "That's 1."
Your child has just received his first warning. If his tantrum continues, he'll get a "2," and if he still continues, he'll wind up at "3." Then what? Then it's time for a consequence—a short "rest period" or time out can work well. No talking, no threats, and no angry parental outbursts.
Some parents say, "That's too simple!" The key to 1-2-3 Magic is not so much what you do as what you don't do: you don't get excited and you don't talk beyond giving the counts.
When parents control themselves properly, children quickly adapt to the 1-2-3 system. The kids respond positively at "1" or "2" most of the time. Most of the time? Why not all the time? Because they are just kids!
Learn more about Dr. Phelan's methods for managing meltdowns here. Our books, DVDs, and quick reference guides will show you how to tame tantrums before they get out of control.