1, 2, 3 Trick
I have never believed in hitting my kids. I have always thought that it was hypocritical to tell little Johnny that he couldn’t hit little Bobby or little Susie if I, the much physically bigger parent, was willing to hit little Johnny to drive home some point.
Hmm…don’t you think that it might be a confusing message to give your child? “Johnny, I told you to stop hitting Bobby!” Smack…
That being said I found that I did have to come up with some tricks that I could use on occasion to get my kids to do what I wanted them to do.
One of those is the 1, 2, 3 trick.
I think it’s a trick that many parents have up their sleeves…and it works, like magic. I was always amazed that it did! Maybe it works because it gives little Johnny the illusion that he is making up his own mind, that he is making the choice to stop whatever behaviour that mom or dad has decided is obnoxious but that he, at the moment, happens to be enjoying!
I’ve read that it’s important to give your kids time to stop an activity that they are engaged in….”Johnny, in 15 minutes, we will be having dinner” rather than “Johnny, dinner’s ready, come now”. I can understand that because, if I am in the middle of something, I generally prefer a couple of minutes warning when I have to stop, so I can put whatever I’m working on in a state that makes it easy to start again.
When using the trick I’ve always been willing to bend the rules a bit…I’m sure you know the count…oooone…long pause…twwwoooo…long pause….two and a haaaalf….success! When my children were very young, 2 1/2 was about as far as I had to go before they responded. Once they got older the countdown continued beyond that…two and three quaaarters…long pause…two and seven eeeiighths….and sometimes I even had to get as far as two and fifteen sixteenths before they responded.
I guess I knew that they had to push the limits so they could assert their independence. I think this is a good thing because you want your kids to develop their independence so they are able to go out into the world to live on their own.
The trick always worked for me but one day it hit me like a ton of bricks – what would I do if the trick stopped working? I didn’t have a backup plan! I don’t believe in “spankings”. This word to me is a glossy way of avoiding the fact that you are, indeed, hitting your child. All I can say is, thank goodness for a child’s imagination. I don’t know what my children imagined would happen should I ever reach three but I never had to get to that point. I think the smallest parts I had to cut the whole into was 32.
…two and thirty one thirty seconds….whew, the trick works again!
If you’ve never used the 1, 2, 3 trick you should give it a try. You might be amazed with the results.