Customer Review

326 of 386 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars treat children like lab rats, May 22, 2004
This review is from: 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 (Paperback)
Imagine being very angry at your friend and they in turn say to you as you express yourself.. "that's one" continue to express your angry..."that's two"..."that's three...take a five minute time out". I would personally find it very frustrating and thankfully it never happens like this the real world. So why inflict this on your children? By using this system for several years we cut our son off from expressing his feelings constructively. If any anything this system only escalated the power struggle and fueled acrimony in our relationship with our son. This simplistic approach to paretning degrades and demeans the child and the parent, precluding possibility of a positive adult relationship relation with your child as they grow up . I am very sad about what we did following the 123 Magic approach. It's hard to believe this approach has any credence whatsoever. An example of the 123 Magic approach: giving children money every hour they behave in a car keeps them quiet but it also trains them to that they get paid for good behavior(not true in the adult world), puts the focus on parental approval and does not foster the inner discipline teenagers and adults need deal with the challenges of life. The books that have helped us create positive relationships with our children and foster inner discipline include the following: The Parent Handbook & Raising A Responsible Child, Don Dinkmeyer; How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Siblings Without Rivalry, Adele Faber; Kids Are Worth It! Barbara Colorosso, Children: The Challenge, Rudolf Dreikurs; Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families, Stephen Covey. Save yourself the mistakes we made; don't buy 123 Magic. We are so proud of our parenting now and so happy with postive family environment we have created with our children, based on the books listed above.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 35 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 27, 2007 9:53:22 AM PDT
That was a great review!! Honest, realistic, informative and intellegent. I was considering buying this book and this reviewer helped me make up my mind and "come back" to the real concept of parenting; taking responsibility for raising a person who is supposed to come into adulthood well-adjusted and inherently good, honest etc. I wish more parents realized that acting out is what children do and sometimes we are going to get frustrated and they will not always listen and do what we want them to do. Thank you again for this great review!

Posted on Jul 6, 2007 9:55:06 AM PDT
Thank you so much for that great review!
Someone recommended this book for us, and I like to research and read the customer's review before I buy. Thanks God I did. The first review I read gave me a very good feel of what the book intends and I do not agree with many of the points that the author has. As a matter of fact, the review I read made me so upset because I just can't believe the views of that person! (here's her review:
I had to leave a comment for that person.

Anyway, I am very grateful that I kept reading more reviews and found yours. I agree with everything you have said in your review. I am glad I didn't buy the book before reading this, otherwise, I'm sure I would have wasted my time and money.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 21, 2007 8:03:47 PM PDT
A. Krupa says:
Obviously we all have different situations. All I know is that of all the books I've read, including a 10-week parenting course, this book was the single most helpful thing I found that got us through a very difficult period with our 3-year old. Because of this book, I still have my sanity, and our little girl is happy, cooperative and a true joy to be around. Kids are not all alike, but in our situation this approach was just the ticket. Sure if they are angry, they need to be allowed to be angry and express it. But abusing one's parents just to get the reaction and display power is not acceptable. this is the kind of thing we were dealing with. This method put an end to power struggles and had a calming effect on all of us. I have recommended it to a lot of people.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 28, 2007 12:37:29 PM PDT
wearymom says:
This review had given me pause. I just ordered the book from a different website! But your level-headed response was exactly what i needed to read. Every child is, indeed, different and therefore the discipline they require is different. I can identify with the parental abuse and power struggles you mention. I know that my child is not a "problem child" I just can't seem to coax the good side out of her. I've got my fingers crossed that this helps.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 28, 2007 10:20:48 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 28, 2007 10:21:18 PM PDT
SAHM to two says:
To Krupa-Exactly. After one day, my dd understands that I mean business and she's not going to get a reaction from me by doing this negative nonsense. I still encourage her to express herself. But we are dealing with a normally cooperative child who to get attention will say NO! No! No! to *everything* Her spirit isn't broken, she's not a zombie or sad. She was very pleasant tonight at bed and I only had to count 3 times this afternoon till she understood the new rules, and stopped at "that's one." Her behavior over the last couple days has manipulated the entire day, taken away from my other child receiving attention... and her getting attention for negative behavior will only enforce for him a similar behavior... so this had to stop. Ya'll decide what you want, I am glad we have started using this method.

Posted on Oct 27, 2007 4:20:26 PM PDT
E. White says:
I am a school counselor and work extensively with families. This customer has done a great disservice to families who are searching for a method of discipline that works without yelling and hitting children. It is a method that works for many families and has given them much peace and harmony in addition to happier and more emotionally healthy children. The fact PonyPal's response to an angry child was to simply count the behavior tells me they did not read the whole book. A critical point in the book talks about a common mistake parents make is to treat children like little adults. It is OK to use reflective listening with children and say... "I understand you are angry, because... however, right now your choices are to do either A or B." It lets the child know your understand their words and feelings, but sets the behavior expectation and empowers them to make a choice. It also teaches them about making decisions.

It is important to read the whole book before beginning the plan. In our school district, all elementary school counselors have both the video and book we loan to families. I have a pile of thank you notes from parents who feel it worked for them.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 2, 2007 9:06:37 AM PDT
Cathy W says:
As a counselor of a school, you seem rather inflexible. Have you considered that there might be more than one method that that works to help families searching for a calmer method? The reviewer has NOT done a great disservice, but rather has raised an important counterpoint. There are pros and cons to ANY parenting method, and it's important to understand them all, in order to make an informed decision.

Posted on Nov 2, 2007 9:12:06 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Nov 2, 2007 9:14:45 AM PDT
Cathy W says:
I have to agree with you in your review. I do think 123 Magic has its place, and it saved our sanity when our kids were very young. It gave us a script to follow, and helped prevent us from losing our temper and/or striking the kids (and when NOTHING else worked, it helped us finally break my then 3-year-old daughter's habit of banshee-screaming-when-not-getting-her-way). But honestly, I think it's lousy for kids much older than about age 5 (which is when the ability to reason seems to kick in for most kids), and I also think it leads parents into some awfully bad habits - the worst of which is stifling the child's emotions, and complete inflexibility.

Posted on Nov 27, 2007 9:07:31 AM PST
P. Solinger says:
I'm surprised at how many of you are saying "Your review made me think twice...". There are 140 5 star reviews of this book, yet you are allowing one (out of about 20) one star review cloud your judgment. There are plenty of bad parenting books out there, but when you see one that is averaging 4 1/2 stars out of 5, it can't be all bad. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Posted on Dec 18, 2007 7:23:02 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 18, 2007 7:32:57 PM PST
Miss M says:
Ponypal, I read what you said with an open mind, and agreed with one or two points until I came to one sentance: " trains them to that they get paid for good behavior(not true in the adult world), puts the focus on parental approval and does not foster the inner discipline teenagers and adults need deal with the challenges of life."

Adults do get paid for good's called the job performance review. Have you had one? Basically my employer sits down with me and looks over an extensive list of criteria that judges how well I do my job. Only about 30% of the review is technical...the rest is, basically speaking, how well I get along with others. In my opinion, it's no different than paying a child for their good behavior. When I was in the corporate world, I certainly used to enjoy getting the 6% raises for my "good behavior", rather than the 1% raises for being a jerk.

What is so bad with teaching our children to focus on parental approval? Eventually, they will need to seek their teachers approval, their bosses approval, their landlords approval, etc. Seeking approval for our actions is how we land jobs, get promotions, get that in-demand apartment, and, when our grade is on the cusp between an A and a B, that approval we worked so hard for may tip the scales and get us the A. That is how the world works, my friend. You are teaching your children a great disservice by making them think that "inner discipline is all it takes to meet the challenges of life."

Placing a positive focus on seeking approval from you (their parent), will likely keep them from seeking any kind of approval they can get from their peers. Children who truly care about what their parents think of them aren't going to be too eager to disappoint them by getting a speeding ticket, underage drinking, using drugs or getting pregnant. However, children who don't have to work at getting their parents approval likely won't be too worried about disappointing their parents since they never had to work for their approval to begin with. (I call that a "sense of entitlement" and most adult "brats" I know suffer from it.)

And suggesting that this book will preclude the possibility of a positive adult relationship when your child grows up is a bit overly dramatic. I've seen children raised by apathetic, unemotional alcoholics who grow up to eventually nurture a positive relationship with their parents (I'm married to one of those children, and I've seen the power of a childs unconditional love for his or her parents first hand), so to suggest that 123 Magic is so horrible of a method that your relationship with your child can be doomed forever doesn't speak highly of one's parenting skills to begin with.
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