What's the Buzz?

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

Parenting is packed with buzzwords that come and go. Let's decipher some of them and figure out if they've got value for you!

BUZZ TERM: 1-2-3 Magic

WHAT IT MEANS: Ever hear a parent counting to three to give their toddler a chance to make a good decision, or putting their child in "timeout"? "1-2-3 Magic" is a parenting strategy and method of discipline for children ages 2-12 that empowers parents to establish authority through counting to three, assigning timeouts and incorporating other authority-establishing routines.

By following the guidelines of 1-2-3 parenting, the system promises parents an easy, effective method of handling difficult behavior. The system offers more structure than counting and timeouts alone, as parents are instructed to adhere to "no talking" and "no emotion" guidelines. All of these strategies are intended to result in children who learn to think and to take responsibility for their own behavior.

WHERE IT COMES FROM: Now in its revised 4th edition, 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 was written in 1984 by a clinical psychologist named Thomas W. Phelan. This very thorough handbook includes special guidance on public tantrums, testing and manipulation, mealtimes, bedtime and active listening.