1-2-3 Magic

Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 (6th edition)
Narrated by: Paul Costanzo
Length: 7 hrs and 1 min
4.5 out of 5 stars (641 ratings)

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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 listeners say about 1-2-3 Magic

Average Customer Ratings
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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.

11 people found this helpful

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Not for kids with Trauma

This technique initially worked ok however my 2 boys have a significant trauma history and this created additional triggers they didn't need. Now if I do start to count they just freak out. I spoke to our therapist who said it sends the message that big feelings are hard and we don't want you around while you deal with them so go figure it out on your own. This may be more effective for neurotypical kids but once the therapist said that I couldn't think anything else while using the technique.

9 people found this helpful

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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.

9 people found this helpful

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Poorly written but with some real wisdom

This book is strangely glib and a little condescending. It's also simplistically written and repeats itself a lot (the first two chapters are almost identical and about how good the book is) and uses strange, specific examples of behavior that often don't some real and make me wonder what kid the author is thinking of. I can't really put my finger on it exactly but there was a lot I did not connect with in here.

However, a section or two hit me hard and struck a major cord. And my wife and now use a modified version of this system. We had made things way to complicated with our three year old and this book woke us up. So I guess it's a good book and helped in the way it was supposed to.

6 people found this helpful

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Extremely helpful

This is a very straightforward book. It was just what we needed to achieve balance with our ADHD son.

6 people found this helpful

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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.

12 people found this helpful

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Day 1: Already Effective!

Prior to reading this book, we were counting like normal, 1,2,3, timeout. BUT! We were explaining why he was going into timeout. There was no consistency either. I work from home and watch our almost 2 year old at the same time, making discipline a pain because I'm working. My fiance let's our son get away with a lot and he does not do the disciplining, which again, makes discipline inconsistent.
We started the 1,2,3 discipline used in the book this morning. Our son went to timeout A LOT, but by the end of the day, all I had to say was "that's 1" and he would straighten up. Wooh!

4 people found this helpful

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Not a good parenting strategy

It is focused on getting rid of the behavior, but NOT teaching the kids appropriate behaviors. To me it's disrespectful and ineffective.

4 people found this 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.

4 people found this helpful

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This book literally changed our life

from the first day I started listening to this book and implementing its teachings it has benefited us greatly. Get the book and when you're done send a link to every parent you know cause we all need it!

2 people found this helpful

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  • IATKL
  • 11-11-18

IT WORKS!

The book is a must for any parent with a child that is out of control or wants to push the boundrys.. It worked within a matter of hours and continues to work. Nothing to loose, give it a try....

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  • Skye
  • 01-04-19

Not for ADHD children

This book may help with neuro typical children but I did not find it very helpful at all for my 4 year old with ADHD

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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.