turn around, quickly, then run away from that book! i've seen the DVD as a psych rec'd it to my mother to use on her adopted niece. it's pretty much count to 3, then send them to their room--one minute for every year of age. if they talk back, object, try to share their POV, add a minute. one-size-fits-all, no attention to relationship, child's POV doesn't matter!
well, i suppose that if all it takes to qualify as positve is no spanking or yelling, then yes, it is positive. in fact, you're not supposed to raise your voice at all, merely stand there emotionless as you count to 3. and this is for any and all offenses, no matter the degree, and whenever you say. the trouble rises, though, when your child refuses to go to their room. that's where 123 magic turns very ugly
One of my friends did 123 magic with her son. This is what happend when I and a bunch of other friends babysat him and our own kids one afternoon (they were about 3 yrs old) :
Some of the kids were putting sand in the pool. We got all of the kids to stop by using pretty typical AP stuff. eg. explaining why not to put sand in the pool, redirecting, physically connecting the the child. Little boy Bob however would not stop. And in fact seemed to be seeking unacceptable things to do. So I was spending a lot of time trying to get him to stop doing all these bothersome things and wasn't getting anywhere. Finally one mom yells out: "Oh, I think you have to count." So I start counting and he stops putting sand in the pool.
Well, this would be weird enough if it was the end of the story but it's not. He then set out challenging me very deliberately to see how far I'd count. First he did a bunch of things (throwing sand, throwing large hard objects, being reckless around the little ones etc.etc.) and would only stop after I counted to one. After a while of that, he took it a little farther and would only stop after I counted to two. Then there was a big pause and you could see that he was debating if I would actually go to three and give him a time out. He never did push me to three and I suppose that some people would call this sucessful application of the technique. (But probably not anyone in this forum)
The worst part was how atagonistic I started to feel towards him. It was like we were both pitted against each other in some kind of sick game. (Of course the 123 magic people would say that I was doing it wrong because a got emotional). It really created a separation between me and this kid. The reason why he was supposed to be doing what we requested (eg. so no one got hurt) was totally obscured the application of the "technique".
It was definetly a good lesson for me on the dangers of time-outs. I know that using time-outs doesn't always go this badly but I think it is certainly a real risk.
I feel bad for engaging with Bob in this way but to this day I don't how I could have handled it better.
One of the most seductive parts of the 1-2-3 Magic video I saw was the argument that by reducing the amount of time you spend in conflict with your children, the method increases positive interactions between you and your kids. One of the things they talk about is the importance of not rehashing the issue after the time out is finished -- once the punishment is over, the issue should be in the past for both the parent and the child.
It strikes me that the personality of the child and the family's dynamics probably have a lot to do with how this method plays out in practice. It seems to be working out well for a family I know, but perhaps their son has a naturally compliant nature.
I think this method is a major improvement over yelling at your kids or hitting them, but it's definitely an authoritarian approach that relies on punishment to achieve compliance rather than seeking cooperation.
The title in itself is enough to set off red flags for me. Any book that claims to "magically" change a child's behavior isn't getting to the heart of the matter at all IMO. All children are different and there definitely is no magic trick to "fix" them!!!