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1-2-3 Parenting with Heart: Three-Step Discipline for a Calm and Godly Household

1-2-3 Parenting with Heart: Three-Step Discipline for a Calm and Godly Household

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1-2-3 Parenting with Heart: Three-Step Discipline for a Calm and Godly Household

349 pagine
6 ore
Jan 2, 2018


Based on the bestselling parenting book, 1-2-3 Magic, and adapted for a Christian lifestyle

In 1-2-3 Parenting with Heart, Dr. Thomas W. Phelan and pastor Chris Webb teach Christian parents to take charge while refraining from yelling, leading to better behaved children, happier parents, and a more peaceful home environment. Complete with relevant Bible verses, explanations, and exercises, this guide allows you to get back in charge of your home and enjoy your kids again by helping you set limits for your children, and by breaking down the complex task of parenting into three straightforward steps:

Controlling Obnoxious Behavior: Learn an amazingly simple technique to get the kids to STOP doing what you don't want them to do (whining, arguing, tantrums, sibling rivalry, etc.).
Encouraging Good Behavior: Learn several effective methods to get your kids to START doing what you want them to do (picking up, eating, going to bed-and staying there!, chores, etc.).
Strengthening Your Relationships: Learn powerful techniques that reinforce the bond between you and your children.

You'll find tools to use in virtually every situation, including advice for common problems such as:
Sibling rivalry
Reluctance to do chores
Talking back
Refusing to go to bed or getting up in the middle of the night

For years, millions of parents from all over the world have used the award-winning 1-2-3 Magic program to help them raise happier, healthier families and put the fun back into parenting.

Jan 2, 2018

Informazioni sull'autore

Dr. Thomas W. Phelan is an internationally renowned expert, author, and lecturer on child discipline and Attention Deficit Disorder. A registered Ph.D. clinical psychologist, he appears frequently on radio and TV. Dr. Phelan practices and works in the western suburbs of Chicago.

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  • The two qualities of God that are most important to emulate in parenting are:  1.Mercy (warm and friendly on the one hand).2.Justice (demanding and firm on the other).

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1-2-3 Parenting with Heart - Thomas Phelan



Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.


MY WIFE AND I were truly excited as God blessed us with one, then two, and finally three children. We totally agreed with the psalmist that children were a gift from God. However, when all three were under the age of six, we also identified with the writer of Proverbs when he wrote Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child (Proverbs 22:15a, NKJV). Our desire was to raise our children in a Christian home and pass on our faith and values to them. In reality, we were frustrated and struggled just to get through the day and hoped the kids stayed in bed most of the night. I felt guilty about getting angry so often and felt inadequate to teach my children about the things of God.

On top of all that, I was an ordained minister and was supposed to be an example for others to follow. As I was praying and searching during this difficult time, I stumbled across a parenting book by Dr. Thomas Phelan titled 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 212. This book proved to be an answer to my prayer. I immediately began to see how his simple principles of parenting connected with scripture. Phelan’s ideas included practical ways to implement biblical concepts.

My wife and I decided to give them a try. The results were amazing.

Not only were we able to manage our family better, we were also more in control of our emotions. We spent less time trying to discipline our kids and more time enjoying them and teaching them about God.

I’ve since taught many parents this program through individual Christian counseling and through church conferences. The response has been overwhelming. The reason for the success of this program is simple. The program is easy to learn and it works. You can learn it one day and start it the next. There really is no magic involved, but many delighted parents believe that the 1-2-3 program works like magic.

I’ve teamed up with Dr. Phelan to offer a Christian edition of this incredible parenting plan. Our goal is to provide practical materials that will make a dramatic and positive difference in the lives of the people who use this program. We want Christian parents around the country to enjoy their children and to be able to discipline them with gentleness, firmness, and decisiveness. This will be a valuable aid in assisting children to grow up happy, competent, and able to get along with others.

Simple Biblical Principles in Action

1-2-3 Parenting with Heart is a biblical, simple, and effective way of managing—gently and firmly—the behavior of children in approximately the two-to-twelve-year-old age range. The ideas in 1-2-3 Parenting with Heart certainly do work if you use them correctly, which means following a few basic rules. The 1-2-3 program is what you might call a parents-in-charge strategy, but no arguing or yelling is allowed. The plan is a way to help your children follow the biblical admonition to obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right (Ephesians 6:1). Raising kids is unexpectedly hard, and it really, really helps to have a plan.

If you are raising young children, 1-2-3 Parenting with Heart might be your ticket to effective and enjoyable parenting for several reasons:

1.1-2-3 Parenting with Heart has sold more than forty-two thousand copies.

2.The method is endorsed by many seminary professors, pastors, and Christian leaders.

3.It has been recommended in publications such as HomeLife and promoted by organizations such as Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) and the Association of Marriage and Family Ministries (AMFM).

4.The program is dad-friendly.

5.It’s evidence-based—that means it works.

For Best Results

This edition of 1-2-3 Parenting with Heart describes straightforward methods for managing the behavior of children from the ages of approximately two to twelve, whether they’re neurotypical or kids with special needs. You can actually start at about eighteen months with a typically developing youngster. To get the best results, keep in mind the following:

1.The strategies should be used exactly as they are described here, especially with regard to the No Talking and No Emotion Rules.

2.If both parents are living at home, ideally both adults should use the program. If one parent refuses to use 1-2-3 Parenting with Heart, however, the other parent can still use it on his or her own (while hoping, of course, that their partner or spouse is doing something reasonable with the kids).

3.Single, separated, and divorced parents can use our methods effectively by themselves. It is preferable that all parents—even if they are in different locations—use the same program, but that isn’t always possible. In fact, single parents greatly benefit from a simple and effective system. If you are parenting on your own, you are very likely to feel overloaded, and you don’t have a lot of time to spend learning discipline programs. Also, because you’re by yourself, you cannot afford to be inefficient when it comes to managing your children. You only have so much energy!

4.Grandparents, babysitters, and other caregivers have also found this program very helpful in managing young children. Actually, many grandparents first discovered 1-2-3 Parenting with Heart on their own and then shared it with their children. In addition, we hear more and more these days that grandparents are raising their grandchildren themselves, and these adults often find the program to be a lifesaver.

5.Make sure your kids are in good physical health. It is a well-known fact that illness, allergies, and physical pain can aggravate both behavioral and emotional problems in children. Regular physical exams for your children are of critical importance. It’s also important to know and respect your children’s natural daily rhythms regarding food, sleep, and using the bathroom. A child who missed a nap, who feels hungry, or who has to go to the bathroom can be much more challenging.

Psychological Evaluation and Christian Counseling

When in the process of using 1-2-3 Parenting with Heart is it necessary to get a mental health professional involved?

Psychological evaluation and Christian counseling are recommended before using 1-2-3 Parenting with Heart if any child has a history of excessive separation anxiety, physical violence, or extremely self-punitive behavior. These children can be very difficult to manage during the initial testing period when they are still adjusting to the new discipline system.

If your family is currently in counseling, this program should be discussed with the counselor before you use it. If your counselor is not familiar with 1-2-3 Parenting with Heart, take a copy of the book for him or her to become familiar with.

Psychological evaluation and counseling are recommended after using this book if:

1.Marital instability or conflict are interfering with the effective use of the methods. 1-2-3 Parenting with Heart is normally an excellent way to get Mom and Dad on the same page in dealing with the kids. Sometimes just a few counseling sessions can help right the ship.

2.One or both parents are incapable of following the No Talking and No Emotion Rules (see chapter 4). Life stressors, as well as problems such as anxiety and depression, can make it hard for some parents to calm down enough to effectively use the program. Drug and alcohol use can also make moms and dads volatile and ineffective.

3.Behavior problems, as well as testing and manipulation by the child, are continuing at too high a level for more than three weeks after starting the program. Your child was hard to manage before you read 1-2-3 Parenting with Heart. Now he’s better, but you still feel managing him is too much of a grind. Check it out with a professional.

4.Trust your instincts. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if you have been worrying about a particular problem in your child for more than six months, that’s too long. See a mental health professional and find out if there is, in fact, something wrong. If there is, try to fix it or learn how to manage it. If there’s nothing wrong, stop worrying.

Serious psychological and behavioral problems in young children frequently include persistent difficulties with the following:

•Paying attention or sitting still

•Language development, social interaction, and restricted interests

•Negative, hostile, and defiant behavior

•Excessive worrying or unusual anxiety about separation

•Loss of interest in fun activities and irritability

•Excessive verbal and physical aggression

•Disregard for age-appropriate norms and rules

•Unexpected learning difficulties

Our prayer for you is that by applying the principles of 1-2-3 Parenting with Heart, you will see a dramatic and positive difference—in a fairly short period of time—in your family, in your classroom, or in whatever area you are caring for children. We hope that you will fully experience Proverbs 29:17 (NIV), Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul.


Parenting: Long Hours, No Pay, Excellent Benefits

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.


CAN I HAVE A Twinkie?

No, dear.

Why not?

’Cause we’re eating at six o’clock.

Yeah, but I want one.

I just told you you couldn’t have one.

You never give me anything.

What do you mean I never give you anything? Do you have clothes on? Is there a roof over your head? Am I feeding you in two seconds?

You gave Joey one half an hour ago.

"Listen, are you your brother? Besides, he eats his dinner."

I promise I’ll eat my dinner.

Don’t give me this promise, promise, promise stuff, Monica! Yesterday—at four thirty—you had half a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, and you didn’t eat anything at dinner!


Welcome to 1-2-3 Parenting with Heart

The Bible does say that children are a reward! Parenting can 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.

Yet being a mom or a dad can also be unbelievably frustrating. Repeat the Twinkie scene above a thousand times and you have guaranteed misery. In extreme but all-too-common situations, that misery can become the source of emotional and physical abuse. That’s no way for a Christian family to live and certainly no way for any child to grow up.

The Bible provides many great principles for raising children. The difficulty comes in their application. That is where 1-2-3 Parenting with Heart can help. This program is a great way to discipline your children (Proverbs 19:18a) in a fair, perfectly clear, and nonabusive way. The 1-2-3 program is used all over the world by parents (single and divorced), teachers, church day care centers, babysitters, camp counselors, hospital staff, and other child caretakers. It is also being taught and recommended by thousands of Christian counselors and pediatricians. At parent-teacher conferences, teachers recommend 1-2-3 Parenting with Heart to the parents of their students.

Why all the enthusiasm? As one parent put it, The 1-2-3 program was easy to learn, and it gave me results. I went back to enjoying my kids and being the kind of mother I knew I could be. More than twenty-five years after the launch of the program, we’re hearing from parents today who say, My kids were great kids, and now they’re nice adults. We enjoy being with them.

This program 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 mature believers—people who can manage their own feelings as well as compassionately care for others.

The methods described in this book are easy to master and you can start the program right away. The ideas in 1-2-3 Parenting with Heart do not take long to learn. And best of all, you do not have to be a saint, genius, or professional psychotherapist to use the program properly.

How to Get Started

When you finish learning the 1-2-3 program, it is a good idea to start practicing it immediately. Make sure you understand all three parenting jobs. Talk with your spouse, if both of you are living at home, and then get going right away. If you are a single parent, take a deep breath and then explain the drill to your children. Do the same thing if you’re a grandparent. If you don’t start right away, you may never get around to it.

After reading 1-2-3 Parenting with Heart, you will know exactly what to do, what not to do, what to say, and what not to say in just about every one of the common, everyday problem situations you run into with your kids. Because 1-2-3 Parenting with Heart is based on only a few critical basic biblical principles, you will not only be able to remember what to do, you will be able to do it when you are anxious, agitated, or otherwise upset (which for many of us parents is every day!). You will also be able to be a kind but effective parent when you are busy, in a hurry, or otherwise preoccupied.

If you are a Christian counselor, pastor, or pediatrician, suggest that your clients or members get a copy of 1-2-3 Parenting with Heart at their local bookstore or, if possible, provide them with a copy of the book yourself.

What to Expect When You Begin the 1-2-3 Program

When you start using the 1-2-3 program, things will change quickly. But there is good news and bad news. The good news is that initially about half of all kids will fall into the immediate cooperator category. They seem to intuitively understand when the Bible says, Take good counsel and accept correction—that’s the way to live wisely and well (Proverbs 19:20, MSG). What do you do? Just relax and enjoy your good fortune!

The bad news is that the other half of the kids will fall into the immediate tester category. These children will get worse first. They will challenge you to see if you really mean business with your new parenting. If you stick to your guns, however—no arguing or yelling—you will get the vast majority of these little testers shaped up pretty well in about a week to ten days. Then what do you do? You start enjoying your children again.

Believe it or not, you may soon have a much more peaceful home and more enjoyable kids. You will go back to liking and respecting yourself as a parent—and it can all happen in the foreseeable future! You will be able to echo the sentiments of the psalmist when he said, Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them (Psalm 127:4–5, NKJV).

Before we get into the details of the 1-2-3 program and Parenting Job 1, controlling obnoxious behavior, we need to clarify some very important concepts that are fundamental to understanding how these ideas work:

1.The most effective orientation to—or philosophy of—parenting (chapter 1).

2.The three basic parenting jobs (chapter 2).

3.The dangerous assumption parents, teachers, and other caretakers often make about young children (chapter 3).

4.The two biggest discipline mistakes made by adults (chapter 4).


Building a Solid Foundation for Parenting


Following God’s Example


Your Job as a Parent


Challenging the Little Adult Assumption


Avoiding the Two Biggest Discipline Mistakes



But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.

PSALM 86:15

THERE’S 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. It’s a lot like getting married: maximum excitement and maximum stress.

But parenting is more than just a job—it is a calling. And the Bible should be the number one source you make use of to fulfill that calling. 1-2-3 Parenting with Heart is basically a training manual to help you apply, in a simple and practical way, the principles you find in scripture.

Ground Rules for Effective Parenting

The place to start is with your basic parenting philosophy—your overall orientation to the job, which provides the ground rules. As with all things, the first place you should look is to God. As a Christian parent, you should model your philosophy after God’s example. The two qualities of God that are most important to emulate in parenting are:

1.Mercy (warm and friendly on the one hand).

2.Justice (demanding and firm on the other).

The definition of mercy is unmerited favor. God is merciful toward us. In Romans 5:8, we find But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. That is unmerited favor—mercy. In the same way, parents should be merciful toward their children. Parents should love children unconditionally in the same way God loves us. Being a merciful parent includes being warm and friendly and taking care of kids’ emotional and physical needs. It means feeding them, keeping them safe and well-clothed, and making sure they get enough sleep. Mercy also means 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. Mercy also includes liking—not just loving—your children.

Key Concept

God is both merciful and just. Parents should also incorporate these same qualities to raise great kids!

The other important attribute of God that parents should imitate is justice—being demanding and firm. While God does love us unconditionally, he still holds us accountable for our sin. In Romans 6:23, we find For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. In this verse, we again see God’s mercy in action, but also his justice in holding all men accountable for their sins. How does this work for parents? Well, good parents hold their kids accountable for their behavior. They expect good behavior in school, respect toward adults, hard work on academics, effort in sports, and relationships with friends that include sharing and kindness. They expect their children to follow the rules, to do things for other people, and to sometimes confront issues that are hard or scary.

In other words, effective parents expect their children to rise to life’s challenges (as you know, there are plenty!) and to respect the rules and limits that will be required for their behavior.

These two parental orientations, mercy (warm and friendly) and justice (firm and demanding), might at first seem contradictory. They are not. Some situations call for one, some for the other, and some situations require both. For example, what if your daughter, Megan, slaps her brother, Jon? Time for the demanding side of parenting. But if Megan feeds the dog without being asked? Time for the warm side.

What if it’s time for bed? Both friendly and firm sides are necessary. The friendly side might mean snuggling in bed with a child for fifteen minutes of story time before lights-out. The demanding side, on the other hand, might mean requiring the kids to get ready for bed (teeth, bath or shower, pajamas, and so on) before story time can happen. And at nine o’clock, firm means lights-out. No ifs, ands, or buts.

The messages this parenting philosophy sends to children are:

1.Mercy (warm/friendly): I love you unconditionally, and I’ll take care of you.

2.Justice (demanding/firm): I expect something from you.

Why are both the warm-friendly and demanding-firm attitudes toward your children necessary? For three reasons. The first reason is that warm and demanding is the example set by God. The second reason is simple: fun! It would be nice if you could enjoy the children while they are growing up in your household. Kids are

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