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Publisher's Summary

Being a parent is one of the most rewarding experiences in life, but every family faces challenges that can be frustrating and overwhelming. For more than 25 years, internationally renowned clinical psychologist Thomas W. Phelan's 1-2-3 Magic has helped millions of parents, teachers, and caregivers raise independent, emotionally intelligent children and build happier, healthier families - all through an easy to understand program that you'll swear "works like magic".

1-2-3 Magic helps you discipline and set limits for your children by breaking down the complex task of parenting into straightforward steps. You'll find tools to use in virtually every situation, including advice for common problems such as:

  • Whining
  • Sibling rivalry
  • Reluctance to do chores or pick up
  • Refusing to go to bed or getting up in the middle of the night

Parents all over the world have rebooted their families and their lives with 1-2-3 Magic. Learn the effective way to be a better, more loving, and more consistent parent, and start enjoying your child again - today!

©2016 ParentMagic, Inc. (P)2016 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Phelan's 1-2-3 is the gold standard of child discipline for good reason." ( Library Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book for all parents!

I found this book when I asked a family friend that has four amazing teenagers how they raised such great kids. They said they read this book when the first child was very young and continued its teachings with all the kids. I have started the program on our children and it really works like magic. I highly recommend this book to all parents, even those with already great kids. It is more about enjoying your kids than about discipline.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Really is like magic!

Written with love for children, parents and family above all, which is one of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much. If love and genuine respect are missing then even the best efforts break down. Again, these are the very reasons why I think the advice given in 1-2-3 Magic works so well.

So in addition to solid advice on love and mutual respect between parent and child, the conversation is also entertaining and lively. I found myself not only learning but laughing out loud at some of Dr. Phelan's witty takes on the challenges of parenting.

Most important of all the advice just works. In 1 short week of implementing 123 with my very headstrong 10 yr-old, the results are unmistakable... My 10 yr-old knows who's in charge and even seems to like the transference of power as if inherently knowing all my child ever wanted was the right kind of firm but loving direction. As for how it works on my even younger kids? Magic for the younger kids too.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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It's just okay...

This book has been recommended to us by a couple professionals that has helped us with parenting techniques. For our older child, this book worked miracles. For our younger child that has a processing disorder, this book did not help. Based on what this book says, these parenting techniques should work for everybody even those that throw massive/destructive and aggressive tantrums.
My main issue with this book is that it mentions, and then quickly glances over, the truly difficult behavior as I mentioned above. It gives no techniques on how to handle that type of behavior. For children with processing disorders that cannot self-regulate their emotions, and engage in destructive and aggressive behavior as a result of their processing disorder, this will not work. For those children, I recommend Sensational Kids- Hope and Help for Children with Sensory Processing Disorders.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Very helpful in our house

We have one kid who nearly always listens the first time and does well when reasoned with....and one son who doesn’t.
We were frustrated dealing with our younger sons lack of “little adult” understanding. He’s a very normal kid that we were treating differently. Almost immediately when we began using the techniques described in the book, he shaped up.
I’m still learning to talk less and move on but my wife is doing great. We have less stress in the house and everybody seems happier. I would (and do) recommend this book to anybody seeking a better relationship with their children. My kids were 2 1/2 and 4 when we began and they both caught on instantly.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Please listen to this book

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I can't emphasize enough how life changing this book is. I listened to 3 other parenting books on audible, all best selling titles with great reviews. And they seriously screwed me up and made parenting a nightmare. Now it's a joy. I don't have to worry about fights over every little thing and I truly enjoy spending time with my daughter.

What was one of the most memorable moments of 1-2-3 Magic?

I was telling my pediatrician that I was struggling with my 3 year old and she asked if I'd heard of 1-2-3 Magic. She gave a really simple explanation and I tried it, not even correctly, just the counting, and it worked. But I was still in the habit of doing the stuff I'd learned from other books, like explaining myself or not giving consequences (just hugs lol). Once I read the book and stopped all those behaviors the magic really started.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The first few times my daughter didn't listen and I gave her a time-out on 3 it was really upsetting. She was freaking out and I thought "this is what they mean by discipline being cruel". But it really only took following through on my threats 2 or 3 times before she started listening immediately. Maybe my kid is particularly suited for this method but it was nothing short of miraculous. My husband tunes out when I try to explain the method so he hasn't learned it and get frustrated that she "only listens to mommy".

Any additional comments?

It's a little tricky when it comes to "stop behaviors" vs "start behaviors". You're not supposed to use the "1-2-3-consequence" method to get them to do something, its to get them to stop something. To do stuff is supposed to be more of a reward system. But I use the 1-2-3-consequence method for both. Basically a stop behavior like "stop whining about bedtime" is also a start behavior "go to bed". So I'll say "stop whining and go brush your teeth or no book tonight 1-2..." and she's running to the bathroom. I used to explain why she needed to go to bed so she wouldn't be tired or that Santa Claus wasn't going to give her gifts or whatever. I find this coupled with the method of saying you'll be back after you've tucked her in to check on her (or bring her a drink or rub her back or whatever) as long as she's quiet for 5 minutes works wonders. She always falls asleep by the 1st or 2nd visit and has less anxiety about being left alone.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

i love it

it what i need to hear this is the book to get. must read it

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Tangible parenting tools

This book was easy to understand and provided simple and tangible techniques. The humor was also helpful and well timed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

good message, delivered dry & repetitive

i just finished this so i have yet to see if the method is effective. i can update later but a few comments on the book: #1 he doesn't spend enough time on what to do for worst case scenario kids. i would guess that most parents reading/listening to this have problems they are desperate to address. i have a 6 year old that has unbelievable tantrums and i still don't know what to do for time out when things don't go according to the norm or bad norm.

also this is perhaps the worst voice over talent i have ever heard on audible. I'm sorry to be blunt (& i will get constructive in a second) but i hope this doesn't turn someone off from using audible books! if this is a first time user please know the voice overs are usually way better. this gentleman sounds like a robot. he even made some funny comments that should have parents LOl-ing, sound dry and boring. pitch and tone are flat, choppy and mechanical. there is no warmth.

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Flippin awesome. Really changed our life.

I'm almost crying now that I finished the book. It really has changed everything for my family. Before 1-2-3 Magic I had no idea what to do and was at my wits end as a mother. Thank you Dr Phelan!

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Good book for parents of 2 or more kids

i agree with many of the suggestions the author offers. Even better if you have more than one kid.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-09-18

Too repetitive

I didn’t like how this book was written- lots of great practical examples, but so repetitive.