Wednesday, May 20, 2009

1-2-3 Magic Questions

So what if I get to count 3 and it's time for my child to have a time-out and they say--ok ok I'll stop screaming or throwing a fit now, or I'll pick my coat up that I left in the front doorway, Do I still put them in timeout? (my sister-in-law asked me this today)
I don't remember Phelan talking about this but I think for the "Magic" to work you need to be consistent and still put them in time out without talking.  I can see a child trying to argue out of time-out and that is completely opposite of what you want.  I could see if you decide to give them another chance everytime they get to a count 3 then they will learn they won't have a consequence.  Kids are smart they will see if you will keep your word.
How do I get this program going at home?
We had a little family council where we explained what we were going to do if the children disobey. After we explained it we asked if anyone had any questions and then we role played and example. The kids thought that was fun and my tester was immediately thinking of whys around the new system.  It took a few days for things to really click.  If your oldest child is 2 years or under I really wouldn't recommend this until they are older.  My two year old does ok with it but I think the whole counting thing is confusing for her so I use the "Uh Oh so sad" for her most of the time when she has behavior issues.  (This is something in the Love and logic Toddlers book which I really like)  
What if I forget my part of the deal and issue out a consequence before I do any counting?
There is a learning curve for both parents and children and you need to be patient with yourself. First, remember that there are times when a child will immediately get a consequence-When they hit you or someone else, or swearing.  So it these cases, I'm sure there may be more, it's ok to give an automatic 3 and timeout for the severity of the action.  But if you are short on patience that day it can be hard to give your children a chance to think about there behavior and change it before laying out the consequence.  When I find myself doing that, I am completely honest with my kids and say, "Hey I'm sorry, lets get back to counting, you can come out of your room and we'll start with a count of 1 for teasing your sister."  This has worked well because then they see you as human and can make mistakes and admit it.  
What do you do when your in the car or in public, like at the store?
This can be very tricky.  In the car I have had to count and have only had to get to 3 one time. We pulled the car over and had our child stand outside for 8 minutes since he is 8 years old.  We stayed right there to make sure he was safe.  He didn't get mad or sad, but after he got back in the car he was golden the rest of the car trip.  This can be a pain especially if you are in a hurry or going on a long drive or your in bad weather.  In this case I would do a time-out alternative.
What are some time-out alternatives for when a timeout isn't appropriate or your child simply will not go do timeout.
Earlier bedtime, loss of computer or video game privilege, no dessert or treat, extra chore, no TV, monetary fine, no friends over, write a paragraph.
My oldest has tested me on time-outs and so we have used some of these time-outs especially when in public.  He has found that he would rather do a time-out then lose out on something else. 
Do you have a situation at home that your stumped on that you want to try 1-2-3- Magic but not sure how?  I'll try to help give you ideas of how it may help.
One thing I know is you can't try something for one day and say oh it just didn't work for us. Anything needs some time for you to test it out and see if you are getting some results.  I would say at least a two week trial.  
Stay tuned for potty training ideas next week.  
P.S. There is only three days left on the survey listed at the top right of the blog.  Cast your vote!

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