Counting, Time-Out & Child Behavior

by Jessica Flores-Tully
(Compton, CA)

The author of a parenting book called "1 2 3 Magic" which has sold one million copies spoke about the success of his book at the Orland Park Library. According to Dr. Thomas Phelan, a child psychologist and the author of the book, parents can stop children's obnoxious behavior, by counting out loud, "1, 2, 3" with a 5-second gap between the numbers, but must do so without emotion.

The other technique Phelan uses is to encourage positive behavior.

As a parent, I have to chuckle a bit at such advice. For instance, counting from 1 to 3 with or without a 5 second space between the numbers will do little to stop certain child behaviors unless there is some kind of threat implied.

Phelan also recommends that parents employ a time-out after the counting sequence, but most parents have learned that time-outs are ineffective because usually it's the adults who need time-outs from their kids and not the other way around.

According to Phelan, the mistake most parents make is treating their kids as though they are little adults, capable of reason, but reasoning with children teaches them how to reason and with time and patience, teaches them to be reasonble and empathetic toward others. Of course, this takes more time and creativity, than stating "1, 2, 3!"

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