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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

1, 2,

Like a good parent, I am reading 1, 2, 3 Magic to try to get my kids under control introduce a new, helpful discipline into the household, and I've got a few bones to pick.

 It's working pretty well, all stated. I don't have to yell. The kids take their time outs well and come out just as the book says, calm and ready to move on.

The main point, for those that don't know, is that when your child is driving you nuts, you count them to get them to stop whatever it is. You say one, and if it doesn't stop or they start whining at you or doing something else equally or more annoying, you say two. At three, you take them to time out for four minutes (for us, since they're four.)

The book says after a few times of this, the kids will stop at one.

And...right there is where it loses me.

HAHAHAHA, I say to the book. You have obviously not met my twins.

The book says kids don't like time out, even if they say they do. If they had wanted to be in their rooms, it says, they would already be in there.

Makes sense on paper. I think I even nodded when I read that.

But it's not true. My kids like time out. I'm serious.

They will never stop at one or two (at least it seems that way.) They go straight on until three every time, so that the three count usually always comes within a few minutes of the one count. Then when they get it, they quieten and go to their rooms, laughing all the way. They chill in there quietly for four minutes, then come out.

No big deal, except for that I'm sick of taking them to their rooms.

Also, aren't punishments supposed to be deterrents?

I mean, sure, this gets the main job done, which is stop doing the annoying thing you are doing. But it certainly doesn't curb the behavior from the root. At least in my case.

In fact, I once had to deal with a tantrum about why one twin "got to go to time out" but the other didn't.

So, 1, 2, 3 Magic, I'm asking, what do you do in that situation?

Another mildly annoying problem is that they love this new punishment so much, they turn it into a game. "No, I'm bringing you to your room!" they'll say. Not in a mean or defiant way, either, in a laughing, this-is-so-much-fun way. I am a good book-follower and don't engage (the whole point is to take all the emotion out of discipline) but damn, seriously?

Or they'll count back, again, laughing and happy, which is addressed as another counting offense in the book, so they go to their room again.

In essence, I guess I would say it's working? I don't know. My kids are odd. What do you think?



  1. The problem is they think of their room as a nice, safe, fun play spot. So the solution is... Stop sending them to their room! Find a patch of hallway or corner somewhere where there aren't any toys and have them sit. And watch them to make sure they aren't playing. They'll get the message real quick.

  2. I have a friend that uses the "time out step" where her child sits when he gets in trouble. We always just used a chair. We never used her room. Too much fun stuff in there.

  3. 1: Don't use their sleep space as a punishment space.
    2: Don't put them in time-out where there's toys, books, and fun things.

    Those are two basic rules from 1-2-3 Magic -- even Super Nanny underscores those facts. :) Don't use their room!

  4. It took more than a "few" times for it to work at 1 for us. I don't really use time out as a punishment anymore, instead I start taking privileges away (like watching TV or playing on the iPad). I always say "that's a 1 - at 3 you're going to lose X privilege". It's works great for us!

  5. I just remember it working for me as a kid, and I'd scream, "DON'T COUNT!" at my mother when she did it, haha. But maybe try taking privileges away instead of sending them for a time out? Maybe they'll get the message better.

  6. We had problems with it working on our oldest. What ultimately worked:
    1. Giving her choices first (a la Love and Logic) before counting.
    2. Use a time-out step, not her room
    3. Losing a toy or privilege is usually more effective than time out (she's 4 now)
    4. Let her know the consequence at Count 1 (especially important when we're not at home)

    The twins are just getting old enough to start these discipline methods and I have no idea how to implement with 2. I could see them fighting about going to their room.



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