Parenting: Not for the Faint of Heart! 1
PART I: STRAIGHT THINKING
1. Is It Magic? 7
2. Stop Behavior and Start Behavior 13
3. The Little Adult Assumption 17
4. The Two Biggest Discipline Mistakes 21
PART II: CONTROLLING OBNOXIOUS BEHAVIOR
5. Counting Obnoxious Behavior 29
6. Twenty Questions 45
7. What to Do in Public 63
8. Variations: Sibling Rivalry, Tantrums
and Pouting 71
9. The Kickoff Conversation 73
PART III: NO CHILD WILL THANK YOU
10. The Six Kinds of Testing
and Manipulation 87
11. Counting in Action 91
12. More Serious Offenses 101
PART IV: ENCOURAGING GOOD BEHAVIOR
13. 7 Start Behavior Tactics 113
14. Up and Out in the Morning 133
15. Cleaning Rooms, Picking Up
and Chores 147
16. Mealtimes 155
17. Homework and Practicing 167
18. Bedtime and Nighttime Waking 172
19. The Family Meeting 189
20. When Do You Talk? 192
PART V: STRENGTHENING YOUR RELATIONSHIP
21. Your Child's Self-Esteem 197
22. Overparenting 205
23. Affection and Praise 209
24. Real Magic: One-on-One Fun 215
25. Active Listening 219
26. Your New Life 223
1-2-3 Magic for Christian Parents
You want your children to learn to think and take responsibility for their own behavior. The Bible calls this self-control. Nagging, complaining, and getting angry usually do not motivate children to greater self-control. Change and growth occur when someone faces consequences. Consider God’s view: “A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:7-8). Children need to experience consequences from their actions in order to change. The challenge for parents is this: Just how do you implement the consequences children need to help them gain self-control?
One of the first giant parenting steps involves controlling obnoxious behavior. Let’s face it; children can be obnoxious. The writer of Proverbs understood this when he wrote, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child...” (Proverbs 22:15a NKJV)). We’ll describe the 1-2-3 or counting method to help parents deal with this foolishness and help their children gain self-control. Counting is surprisingly powerful and deceptively simple, but you have to know what you’re doing.
First, remember that you will use the 1-2-3, or counting method, to deal with Stop (obnoxious or difficult) behavior.You will be counting things like arguing, fighting, whining, yelling and tantrums. You will not use the 1-2-3 to get the child up in the morning, to get her to do her homework or to motivate her to practice the piano.
Second, if you are new to 1-2-3 Magic, you will be skeptical. The procedure will seem too easy or perhaps not tough enough. Some of you will think, “Hey, you don’t know my kid. This kid is a wild man!”
Don’t worry about feeling skeptical. The 1-2-3 is deceptively simple, but it is not always easy. The “magic” is not in the counting. Anyone can count. The magic—or what may seem like magic—is in the No-Talking and No-Emotion rules, which make children think and take responsibility for their own behavior.
Of course, there really is no magic in 1-2-3 Magic for Christian Parents. It just seems that way. The program is a way of implementing certain biblical principles and it is also backed up by behaviorial research. Soon—when conflicts with kids arise—you will feel like a new person: consistent, decisive and calm.
Undoubtedly, after our initial explanation, you will have questions. We will attempt to answer all of your questions in the next chapter. After that, and after you have read through the information in chapters 6-10, you can begin counting.
Counting Difficult Behavior
How does the 1-2-3 work? Imagine you have a four-year-old child (some of you don’t have to imagine!). This child is having a major temper tantrum on the kitchen floor at 6 p.m. because you—in your hardness of heart—would not give him a small bag of potato chips right before dinner. Your son is banging his head on the floor, kicking your new kitchen cabinets, and screaming bloody murder. You are sure the neighbors can hear the noise all the way down the block, and you’re at a loss for what to do.
Your pediatrician told you to ignore your son’s tantrums, but you don’t think you can stand it. Your mother told you to put a cold washcloth on the kid’s face, but you think her advice is strange. And your husband told you to spank the...