“… I have almost finished a Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) course, which was recommended to me. I very highly recommend the course to all parents and wish it were a compulsory course for all parents to do. The course has caused me to completely re-evaluate the relationships I have with my children (and my partner and other children) and has had a profound impact on the way our family now communicates.
My wife and I have found that: We are much more aware of our children’s behaviour, and how our level of acceptance dictates how we respond – we now have a much broader level of acceptance which means less unnecessary conflict (sometimes we used to say NO for no good reason). We have learned how to actively listen to our children and identify their real needs, not just react to the behaviour they are displaying at the time. We have learned how to understand and convey our needs to our children, so that they will initiate and willingly modify their own behaviour to accommodate our needs, without us ordering them to do it (sounds too good to be true!). We have learned how to problem solve with our children to get a win-win outcome We now have almost no need to use physical force to change our childrens’ behaviours – ie no pulling, pushing or holding against their will. We have much more meaningful and deep conversations with our children and they are willing to tell us about things they were previously fearful to share. and there is still a week to go….. We have noticed real changes in ourselves and in our children – there is much less shouting, less tantrums, less fighting, and less stress. Our children (9, 5 and 3) have told us how they like the change a lot. Even my 3-year-old son’s play schoolteacher has commented that he is much less aggressive, more considerate and more cuddly than he used to be (he used to be a ‘problem’ child).
It is a very well established course (30 years in Australia).
I recommend it to all parents, and if possible both parents should do the course together, but if you can’t manage that then one should do it. It’s well worth the time and money. The course books out fast so act soon.” – Much happier Parent – Steve
“P.E.T. has completely changed my life. I realize now just how ineffective my parenting skills really were. Also, how ineffective MOST parents are when communicating with their children. When I was about half way through reading the book, I told my husband that this was the first time I’d ever read any book on parenting where it just felt RIGHT. I cannot express to you enough what the feeling was like. I actually said aloud, “WOW! This is how I want to raise my kids!” Everything I had done before reading this book was because someone had told me that’s what I SHOULD be doing. Nothing I tried ever worked, until now.” – Aimee R.
“Dr. Gordon’s influence in my life has been substantial. My parents took a P.E.T. course in the 70’s and raised our family using his methods. I am ever grateful for their decision, as I was always treated as an equal, listened to, and actively participated in solving problems. The approach instilled a strong sense of responsibility in us at a very young age, which included the ability to see the world from my parents’ point of view. The method provided our family a model for communication that preserved the quality and openness of our relationship throughout my childhood and teen years, making life easier for us and for our parents. My parents did not have to resort to blame, punishment, or force to solve family problems. I loved growing up in this environment and feel passionate about helping others create it as well, which is why I decided to become a P.E.T. trainer.” – P.E.T. Instructor
“The P.E.T. skills enable me to be a more nurturing mother on the one hand, and feel greater self-respect on the other.” – Rachel U.
“My confidence in my parenting has been restored thanks to the skills I’ve learned. While other sources instructed to ‘be empathetic’ none taught me ‘how’ to be… Active Listening IS the answer I needed and Method III has helped me problem-solve when I could not do so before.” – M. Lepe
“I feel like I’ve learned some fundamental skills that are proving useful in all areas of life – I’m really excited about the extent to which this is going to change my life for the better!” – Richard B.
“Dear Sir [Thomas Gordon]:
I wanted to write and let you know how much of what you teach has helped me in so many ways in this part of my journey in life. I am dealing with some very hard roads to travel, as I am recovering from 19 years of psychological abusive (verbal) relationship. We have a 9 year old daughter which we are in the midst of the family law procedures and mediation on custody and of the dissolution of properties. I had my life threatened and had to leave the state with family for support. To make a long story short, after being told I was either crazy or stupid, my confidence at trying to say anything to anyone had been taken from me. The difficult of rediscovering this communication ability that so many take for granted to be there has been 1 year and 7 months thus far. I looked and searched and prayed for someone out there to help guide me through this in a healthy and positive way. I have been blessed with so many wonderful people along the way. I have returned back to the state alone and living in an apartment, I was unable to leave the relationship with my daughter, but have gotten liberal visitations with her. I was told about your book PET by a seminar on family law. I immediately went from the seminar to your website and purchased the book, which I have read and still reread on a daily basis to confirm I do have a voice and this is the healthy way to communicate. Your newsletters help me so very much. I wanted to write and thank you and all those who help you in getting this information out there for us who have had to learn the hard way that communication skills can be erased to the degree that what once was a very simple trait that we once knew so well and enjoyed, had been silenced by a few sentences of violence and threats. I am now blessed with a new strength once again to speak and communicate in a positive way with your help and guidance in your books and newsletters in my quiet safe place in my apartment. Keep the newsletters coming and know that you have touched my heart and soul to give me the confidence in relearning the absolute beauty in the English language and how one can use their communications skills to help others. Helping others to regain their voice in this way is now something that seems to be very natural for me, thanks to all you have done with your teachings.” – Juanita B.
“From a mother who bought the PET book on tape:
Very good!!! Just had our 15-year old step daughter decide to move in with us and part of her reason was to have adults who actually cared about what she thinks around her. THAT felt good!!!! My husband is really listening carefully to the tapes. This is very new to him and he is eating it up! We have already been having family meetings for everything from menu planning (which the kids love to take part in) to weekend planning (including chores!)” – Rhonda B.
“Applying P.E.T. skills has been almost always immediately effective and I have greater confidence in my parenting and as an individual.” – Alix A.
“I love reading your work. It validates my own parenting style. I have a large family of mostly boys. Because of my own aversion to it I have not been a controlling parent. Relatives have often considered me too permissive, especially when tots were small. It’s been hard on my confidence as a parent.
My theory has been not to make too many rules. We make sure that the entire family is part of what rule-making there is. The rules have genuine value and these rules are not enforced with punishment, but with counsel and an attempt teach a harmonious way for our household.
It is often slow going. It is sometimes messy, but I can tell you, when kids have little to rebel against, there is very little or no rebellion. I would never expect my children to hit me or to even have any desire to do so. The feeling is mutual. We respect each other. At a time in their lives when many parents are moaning about their teens, I am enjoying the liveliness, fun, and personalities of all of mine. They are quick to forgive and though they aren’t inclined to care a lot about an immaculate house, they are usually willing to help cleaning up when such help is needed. We love each other dearly and that is worth more than anything else to me.” – D. Haskins
“I found this course really empowering in that it doesn’t require me to assume a different persona when I am parenting – I can remain authentic and true to myself and have permission to be ‘in charge’ without being authoritarian.” – Louise B.
“I had been looking for respectful parenting and discipline tools when I happened upon the title Teaching Children Self Discipline [by Dr. Thomas Gordon] at the local library. As a mother for fifteen years of four biological and twelve foster children this book actually makes some sense in my world. I went to learn-and-play groups, a number of parent support groups with names like Oppositional Teens, Positive Discipline, Tough Love, Love and Logic, etc. Most–if not all–disappointed me. They talk about different parenting strategies, however, they all end up being punishments, rewards, etc.
I’ve worked with psychologists, therapists, police, psychiatrists, etc. It seems they all say the same things, and the schools–of course–are going along the same lines. I keep trying to explain that I would like to teach self discipline to my children and the answers I get are to follow these violent methods [punishments] and then tell the kids not to be violent. These are mixed messages that are confusing to me, let alone a child.
For example, when my oldest was biting at the age of two, a parenting group advised me to bite him back. This didn’t make sense to me. Why would I do the exact thing I was trying to teach him not to do? Well, I did bite him back and to this day I still feel it was one of the biggest mistakes in my parenting career. I locked myself in the bathroom and cried for hours. It was at this point I said I know there has to be a better or different way to do this. So I started watching what was bringing this behavior on and noticed it came about over frustration when he couldn’t get other kids to understand him verbally or say things like, ‘Please give me my toy back.’ When I read in Dr. Gordon’s book about aggression following frustration I can say I really agree.
I have ordered some of Dr. Gordon’s other books. I’m really looking forward to reading more.” – M. Desjarlait
“P.E.T. skills are quite straightforward and easy to use but really make a difference to how my children and I communicate.” – Jenny B.
“I am a professor of physics at Yen-Byun University in China. I have two children, a daughter and a son. I realize now that I was an authoritarian father. I wanted my children to be excellent and I tried to give them the best education. But my son disappointed me greatly. More and more we became a pain to each other. On February 24, 1996 my son had to leave for a job in another city and I had planned to go to the airport to see him off. But he had gone to the airport with my wife. He had gone without saying good-bye to me. I heard later that he had even gotten into an argument with my wife at the airport.
That same day I was to leave for Seoul, Korea. My heart was broken and I was depressed when I got to Seoul. Entirely by chance I met Professor Rose-Inza Kim at Sogang University. I told her of my depression over my relationship with my son and she suggested I take her P.E.T. course. Thanks to her assistance I began the course. It influenced my entire life.
I realized that all parents have to develop new communication skills for their children. I used all kinds of Roadblocks: commanding, demanding and criticizing. If I had taken the P.E.T. sooner I would have been a much better father, a good father. For instance, I would have handled the work situation much better. My wife and I both had jobs when my son was 6 years old so we had to leave him at the child care center everyday. But he did not like it there.
We compelled our son to go to the kindergarten against his will. Once when he was in 7th or 8th grade I told my son, ‘What’s the matter with you? Get out of my sight! I hate you!’ As soon as he heard this he ran away from home. Although he came back home a few days later my son had hostile feelings toward me and showed his resistance and anger. He said, ‘Just wait. When I grow up I will hit you like you hit me.’ I was shocked, surprised, and felt miserable. My son began smoking and drinking with his peers. I could not understand him. I became more and more unhappy. ‘I don’t know what to do,’ I exclaimed. ‘What is the matter?’
P.E.T. was like a shock to me. I applied I-messages and reflective listening in my daily life. I used those communication skills with my wife and our son. Once I talked to him on the phone and said, ‘I feel very sorry now about my previous coercive attitude and behavior toward you. It was my mistake. You must have been very lonely for a long time.’
To my surprise my son burst into tears at my words. He cried on the phone for awhile and then said, ‘I have never been so happy in my life like this moment, father, I never dreamed such a thing could happen in my life.’
Now, my family communicates our deep feelings and thoughts and we help each other. I am really happy now. I can never thank my P.E.T. teacher enough. I hope to introduce P.E.T. in China. It would be a dream come true.” – L. Jang-Sup
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