Monday, December 3, 2012

1-2-3 Magic discipline for kids

Over the years, I've tried many methods of discipline styles. Some were along the lines of natural consequences, like Love and Logic. But that was much too passive a style for us.

I've tried more direct approaches like James Dobson's Strong-willed Child. Parts of this work too but only to a certain extent.

I've taken pieces of each of these styles - whenever natural consequences are enough (for example when he climbed my car the other day and jumped off, only to scrape up his hands) I let them speak for themselves. When he is being impatient, he gets to spend 10 minutes in his room reading the Joy Berry Patience book. If he is throwing a fit or doing something inappropriate, he is free to go to his room and do that as long as he wants. But if he is to be out with the rest of us, he has to stop.

But we needed something more structured, simple and direct, that also gives him control. For us, so far, that has been 1-2-3 Magic. To be honest, I have not purchased and read the book, though I think I might or check it out from the library. What I do now I read here.

I follow it to the letter every time. "Brady, that's one," and hold up one finger. He continues behavior. "Brady, that's two," and hold up two fingers. "If I get to three, you will lose _____" or "you will have to ___" or "we will not ____". And then, "Brady, that's three, now you have to _____" That way, he knows what's coming, he knows it is in his hands whether or not that happens, and he knows mommy means business. The hardest part is being consistent EVERY SINGLE TIME and always following through.

The other things this does is help me keep calm. I have something to fall back on every time so I don't have to scramble in my head for an appropriate response to his behavior and get frustrated because he keeps doing whatever it is.

The last thing I LOVE about this method is it is easily explainable and usable to everyone else in his life. I told his teacher and his after-school care providers and they all agreed to use it. My husband, my mom, babysitters, all of them can use it.

So, take a look, and maybe give it a try. It's worked well for us!

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