Ayush Antiwal

Ayush Antiwal

1 2 3 Magic By Thomas Phelan Summary | Thomas Phelan

The Author says parenting is one of the most important jobs in the world, and it can also be one of life’s most enjoyable experiences. Small children are engaging, affectionate, entertaining, curious, full of life, and fun to be around. For many adults, parenting provides profound and unique benefits unequaled by any other area of life.

1 2 3 Magic By Thomas W. Phelan

1 2 3 Magic Summary | Thomas Phelan
1 2 3 Magic Summary


1-2-3 Magic help children grow up to be self-disciplined adults who are competent, happy, and able to get along with others. In other words, it helps produce emotionally intelligent people.

Summary of 123 Magic By Thomas Phelan

Author says there is no way to know what parenting is like until you do it. Whatever thoughts you may have had about becoming a mom or a dad, bringing that first child home is a jolt—a big jolt. The only guarantee is that raising your child will be more difficult, and more rewarding, than you could ever have expected. 1-2-3 Magic helps children grow up to be self-disciplined adults who are competent, happy, and able to get along with others. In other words, it helps produce emotionally intelligent people—people who can manage their own feelings as well as understand and respond to the emotions of others.

The 1-2-3 method will save you a lot of breath—and a lot of aggravation. Parents and teachers say counting makes discipline a whole lot less exhausting. Give one explanation, if absolutely necessary, and then count. No extra talking and no extra emotion. You stay calmer and you feel better—about your child and yourself when you get a good response at 1 or 2.

Being Warm & Friendly

Author Says being warm and friendly means taking care of kids’ emotional and physical needs. It means feeding them, keeping them safe, warm, and well clothed, and making sure they get enough sleep. Warmth and friendliness also mean being sensitive to the children’s feelings: sharing their joy over a new friend, comforting them when their ice cream falls on the ground, listening sympathetically when they’re angry at their teacher, and enjoying their company.

Author says you want your children to grow up, leave home someday, and make it on their own. Warm and demanding, therefore, also means encouraging and respecting your kids’ growing independence . Friendly and firm means not hovering and not being overprotective. It means giving children a chance to do things more and more on their own as they get older.

Your Job as Parent

Author says parenting job involves controlling obnoxious behavior. You will never like or get along well with your children if they are constantly irritating you with behavior such as whining, arguing, teasing, badgering, tantrums, yelling, and fighting.

Author says parenting job involves encouraging good behavior. Encouraging good behavior—such as picking up toys, going to bed, being courteous, and doing homework—requires more effort by parents and more effort from kids to engage in the encouraged behavior than controlling difficult behavior does.

Author says your final parenting job is to work on strengthening your relationship with your kids. This means making sure that screen time does not replace face-to-face time.

Should you ever spank a child ?

It’s about time that people face up to reality: the vast majority of spankings are parental temper tantrums. They are in no way attempts to train or educate a child. They are simply the angry outbursts of a parent who has lost control, doesn’t know what to do, and wants revenge by inflicting pain.

Your Authority is Not Negotiable

Author says you would go crazy if you had to negotiate—every day—issues like getting up, going to school, going to bed, homework, whining, and sibling rivalry. But you shouldn’t have to, because you are the boss. As a matter of fact, as a parent you must frustrate your kids on a regular basis, because you can’t possibly give them everything they want.

Shouldn’t the kids ever apologize ?

If you’re currently asking your kids to apologize and that routine is working well, that’s fine. Keep in mind, however, that many apologies are really exercises in hypocrisy. Requiring an apology is often simply part of the child’s punishment not a learning experience involving sorrow or compassion.

Homework Strategies

Author says If you are going through the first experiences of your child having trouble with homework, consider trying the natural consequences approach first. That means you do nothing. Keep quiet and see if the child and the teacher can work things out. So many parents get anxious way too soon about their children’s schoolwork, with the result that the grown-up prematurely takes charge of the job and doesn’t give the child a chance to learn.

The Basic Bedtime

Author says before you do anything else, set a bedtime for the kids and stick to it. The bedtime may vary, of course, depending on whether it’s a school night or a weekend, school year or summertime. But exceptions to the rule should be rare. Otherwise, bedtime is open to negotiation every night, and then to testing and manipulation.

Be a Good Listener

Author says your children will frequently surprise you with some of the things they say, and your first impulse often may be to react negatively. When you are listening to your child, you are—like Tom’s mother forgetting your own opinions for a while, suspending judgment, and committing yourself to completely understanding how the child saw a particular situation.

Discuss Problems

Author says when a child is upset about something but not being disrespectful to you, it’s time to listen and discuss the problem. Some children’s comments may give you pause, but they’re not really attacks. If a parent uses a little active listening, the emotion may be diffused.

123 Magic Summary

Author says you can start with what are called “openers”—brief comments or questions designed to elicit further information from your child. These comments often require self-control and are especially difficult when you are caught off guard. Openers may also appear incredibly passive to you, but remember that parental listening must precede any problem-solving discussion.

Play with Your Child

Author says its very important, therefore, to take your kids, one at a time, and regularly do something you both like. It’s more peaceful because there’s no fighting between siblings, and coordinating different agendas is no problem because there are only two agendas to coordinate.

Shared fun can come in little bits and pieces during the day. Moments of fun can be shared and enjoyed when you are talking, listening, expressing affection, or telling jokes. By all means, do things together with the entire family, but make sure those times are as enjoyable as possible. If whole-family activities are usually miserable experiences, fix them! But whatever you do about whole-family fun, make sure your days and weeks include regular one-on-one fun with each of your children.

Solving Problems Together

Author says when your children are small, you should be the boss. Your parenting should be a kind of benevolent dictatorship where you make most of the decisions, you are the judge and jury, and you are gentle and kind. Your children will not decide each day what they have for dinner, when they go to bed, or whether or not they show up for preschool in the morning

Emotional Obstacles

Author says slipping can also occur in certain situations where your thoughts and emotions conspire to throw you off track. In these situations, it’s not so much that you forget what you should do. Instead, emotional forces inside, caused by a little bit of screwy thinking, push you toward a bad discipline response.


Author says you are looking for two big things from your children as they grow up. One is for them to cooperate—comply with the rules, limit obnoxious behavior, and do what they’re supposed to do. But another equally important trait you want from them—believe it or not—is independence. From whom? rom you! Your kids are going to leave home someday, and when they do, you want them to be able to think for themselves, make their own decisions, and manage their own lives

About the Author :

Thomas Phelan is an internationally renowned expert, author, and lecturer on child discipline and attention deficit disorder. A registered PhD clinical psychologist, he appears frequently on radio and TV. Dr. Phelan practices and works in the western suburbs of Chicago.


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