1,2,3 Magic

Apparently I talk too much during time outs.

I should clarify that these aren’t my time outs (though lord knows I could probably use one or two). They are Cameron’s. You see, even though Cameron is the sweetest, smartest, most affectionate boy ever – sometimes he has a nasty temper. So, he gets a time out.

Have you ever read 1,2,3 Magic? It’s a childcare manual that my mom told me about. The whole magic is that when your child is bad, you give him 3 chances to straighten up and act right. On 3, if the kid continues with the bad behavior, they get a time out. The book’s author, Dr. Thomas Phelan, says that throughout this, you should be as calm and even-tempered as you can. That means no grabbing the kid and tossing him in the time out chair, no empty threats, and very little talking while the kid is in time out. No emotions from you. You are the adult.

I’m so bad at keeping my emotions out of it.

I was raised by parents who under no circumstances would have tolerated stuff like talking back or open defiance. In fact, I wouldn’t be here writing this if I’d have tried half the stuff Cam tries with me. So I get angry when he is angry and disrespectful with me. However, i know I have to get better at these situations. I was talking to a childcare expert Monday and she re-emphasized what I already know. I need to count to three, and if it turns out that he goes to time out, it needs to happen with as little fuss or drama as possible. I need to calmly let him know that his only option is to serve his time out. There shouldn’t be any bargaining or even explaining why at that point. If he is in time out screaming and carrying on, I’ll say stuff to him like “you aren’t getting up until you calm down.” But that’s a no-no.Talking happens later, when he is calmer and more receptive.

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One Comment on “1,2,3 Magic”

  1. I’m no childcare expert, but I think saying “you’re not getting up till you calm down” is reasonable enough. Then again, I don’t have kids, and there are lots of good reasons no one ever asks me for advice on childrearing. For what it’s worth, I think you’re doing a good job. Parenting is hard!


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