It’s Not Magic, But It’s Doing Something

I recently shared some discipline issues with my 2 year old.

After writing that post, some advice from friends and family shoved me led me to the realization that I needed to be looking at Buggy’s discipline as a whole, not just the hitting.

And I needed to look at how I reacted to his behaviors – all of his behaviors.

I read the book the pediatrician recommended.  It was good and we are using it.

The problem with parenting books is the constant need for the psychologist, psychiatrist, pediatrician, child expert to put the parent readers in a category.  The sleep book I read when Buggy was a mere sapling pretty much said that parents either formula-fed and had their babies sleeping in distant bedrooms or breastfed and co-slept with the child right in between.  I fell into neither of those categories but found helpful advice in spite of the near-sighted author.

The latest book I read pretty much puts parents in only one corner.  We all yell at our children, and then eventually beat them.

While I’ll admit that I have raised my voice more than I cared to.  I have no urge to beat my child.

Putting the author’s asinine (wow, I did not know how to spell that word) stereotypes aside, I do like the “1-2-3 Magic” system.  {1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12, Revised 4th Edition, Thomas W. Phelan, Ph.D.}

Annoying behaviors (whining, pouting, anger, tantrums) get a directive (“stop blah-blah-blahing) and a “that’s 1″.  Wait a few seconds, behavior gets a “that’s 2″.  Wait a few seconds, behavior gets a “that’s a 3, time out”.

(Just so you know, the hitting is an automatic 3.  He doesn’t get chances to try and hit me or not.  Wanted to clarify that my new discipline trick does not in fact allow my son to beat me – or anyone else for that matter – to a bloody pulp before heading to time out.)

No yelling, no parental anger, no discussing the child’s behavior.  Just counting and time out.

I love it!  If Buggy wants to throw a tantrum, I don’t have to spend however long it takes to try and calm him down, appease him, or distract him (which completely defeats any attempt at correcting the behavior).  I count, he doesn’t stop, he goes to his room for 2 minutes.

Best of all, that 2 minute time out is usually the ticket.  He stops, he gives up, he forgets.  I calm down, I finish what I was trying to do, I breathe.  And we go about the day.

The positive behaviors get a lot more attention – which you’d think would be easy but is not.  It’s like it’s natural to point out the flaws in other human beings rather than congratulate them on a job well done.

Is he a perfect angel now?  No.  Does he ever stop at “that’s 2″?  Goodness no.  Has he stopped hitting his mother?  Sadly, no.

However, I feel like I am in control of the situation, instead of him.  We have the power back, right where it needs to be.

Don’t get me wrong.  My child is a great kid.  He is normally very happy, very nice, very kind.  But he is two, he is normal, and I am his mother.  If you think he is a terror and I am a horrible mother, kindly move along.  To the nearest library.  To read the book I’m describing.  Because secretly you know you need it too.

I swear that's a happy face.

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2 Responses to It’s Not Magic, But It’s Doing Something

  1. We alllll need good tips and tricks for curbing unwanted behaviors. Glad the book is working!!

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