Of the book recommendations, I immediately acted on two of your suggestions. The first, You're A Better Parent Than You Think: A Guide to Common-Sense Parenting by Raymond N. Guarendi ("Dr. Ray") has been a great read and one I wish to review extensively in a future post. It has provided a serene backdrop for my soul and has assuaged many of the maternal fears of mine that were overgrown and had become exhausting. The second of the two books, 1-2-3 Magic by Thomas W. Phelan, Ph. D, is one I'd like to review for you all today. It has set our home up on a system of discipline that is calm, clear, and very easy to follow.
First things first, you need to understand that I'm a "by the book" type of gal. Give me a system and I'll put it into action to a T. I like someone to tell me what to do and then I improvise from there. Which leads me to today's book review. Our family had been implementing all sorts of strategies to curb poor behavior, but never with an overall clear picture of where we were headed. I had been searching for a book, a complete discipline system, to define where our family drew boundaries and how we handled consequences. Thanks to 1-2-3 Magic, I feel like we've found our correct path! Two weeks later, we are already greatly reaping the benefits.
Dr. Phelan begins by describing a few of the mistakes many parents make in their parenting--they usually talk too much, have too much emotion, and tend to treat their kids like grown adults. Kids don't need all that verbage! They need clear, concise direction. Calm parents create calm children. The more parents can keep their composure, the more in control they can remain. I found these first chapters to be extremely enlightening!
Phelan goes on to delineate two different types of behaviors in children and how to address each of them. There are STOP behaviors, or those that parents will want to bring to a halt (whining, hitting, crying, tantrums, etc.) And there are START behaviors, actions parents want to encourage (starting homework, cleaning a room, using manners, etc.) For STOP actions, Dr. Phelan outlines a clear 1-2-3 system of discipline, where the child gets "1", and "2" as warnings for various behaviors and "3" then lands them in a time-out area or time-out alternative. What I loved most about this directive was how EASY it was to carry out! It also works great on the road or in other venues, which Dr. Phelan clarifies in a subsequent chapter.
For START behaviors, Phelan offers a variety of techniques to encourage young ones, including natural consequences, motivation charts, kitchen timers, a docking system, etc. to help parents initiate certain behaviors. He ascertains this area is often the hardest to tackle and parents often have to use their creativity extensively to effectively motivate their children. After two weeks of implementing 1-2-3 Magic, I'll agree that its the Start behaviors that are toughest to encourage. We're working on it and I'm constantly revisiting my book for ideas!
Dr. Phelan goes on to address specific behavioral scenarios and how best to handle them. These practical sections really help to give the reader a direct view of how the system is appropriately implemented. These chapters addressed questions of mine and helped to bring the system all together.
Two weeks in, we're loving it! I can honestly say that I'm a calmer and happier mama. The effect? Calmer, happier children! Looking for some direction yourself? I highly recommend 1-2-3 Magic! Have a great weekend all!