This impressive young woman was raised with P.E.T. and shares her story about the Gordon Model, bullying, school pressure, helping friends and more. What struck us the most was Jana’s maturity, sophistication and awareness. Check it out for yourself! It’s pretty incredible.
Sheryl: How have the skills affected your life?
Jana: First of all, while I was growing up, sometimes I found it quite strange when I was with my friends. I find myself quite lucky because I realize that my friends have been punished a lot and I wasn’t really. My parents always treated me with patience and with kindness, so I always felt lucky for having them.
For quite a lot of time I thought that the skills were natural for them and I was just simply lucky. But it’s so great to hear that parents can learn it.
I love my childhood thanks to my parents, thanks to their kindness and how they always helped me with my difficulties, without the anger.
Sheryl: Did you see differences in your friends, in how it affected them by not having PET parents?
Jana: Yeah. For example, what I see is that I have a bit more patience when it comes to people and also I can really affect my surroundings by truly listening to them. I can see that people have difficulty with solving problems. Thanks to this system, I can solve problems quite easily by just listening and getting the other person’s perspective. Most of the time people just don’t care about the other person’s perspective.
Sheryl: What are some examples of times you’ve used the skills?
Jana: Just yesterday my sister was really upset. She’s on a really strict diet right now and she made some chicken for herself. I got home early, before my mother, so she didn’t have time to make dinner for me and she said, “It’s fine you can eat the chicken.” When my sister got home, she got really upset, because she prepared the food for herself and I ate it! I didn’t know that she had prepared that food for herself.
So, she started throwing a tantrum. But all of us – mostly our mother – instead of just being annoyed, she went to my sister and said, “Okay, what is the problem and what can I help you with? Can we find any other solutions? “
Sometimes it’s quite short.
And what I experience in other households, people say, “Oh, just get over it and do something else!”
But my mother was like, “Okay, what can I help you with?” Even though it was some just really small thing.
Sheryl: What happened then, what was the conversation?
Jana: They talked about it. I was in my room so didn’t hear the conversation. But they prepared something, so food, together and it was all solved. And mother convinced her that she could eat some chocolate too.
Can you think of times you were able to help friends using the skills?
Yeah. I’m lucky. I’m really quite lucky, because I have a large group of friends. We get together and they come to me quite a lot. Also, it’s so funny, because every time they come to me for some advice – either it’s about a relationship or it’s about family. And I almost all of the time advise the same thing. I say, “Did you try facing them and telling them what you really felt? And did you tell the complete truth, without any twisting or anything?”
And it’s always like, “Yeah, yeah, I tried that.”
And I was like, “Did you truly listen to him? What was his or her problem or his or her difficulties? Can you recall it?”
And they’re like, “Yeah, yeah, kind of.”
And I’m like, “Well, if only you kind of listened, only kind of recall, maybe try it again!”
So, most of the time they are facing trouble, they don’t listen.
It’s about finding that solution together. It’s not always one sided. It’s never one sided actually.
Sheryl: What are some typical problems you and your peers experience?
Jana: Relationship problems, first! That’s one definitely. And also, existential problems about studying. Where do they want to head to a university? Parents make it quite difficult. Their parents set quite a high standard when it comes to studying. Like you have to have an A, or in Hungary it’s called a 5, in every class, or in the important classes.
Also, teachers are pushing quite hard. The SAT’s are quite scary for us. So mostly studying and also relationships are the main issues.
Sheryl: What kind of relationship issues?
Jana: Either friendship or love life .
Sheryl: What are the main benefits you see from being raised without reward and punishment?
First of all I’m not, I can’t say that I never, but I’m not always doing things to get rewards. That’s one really big thing.
For example, I don’t study to get rewards as most of the kids do. I study to make myself feel better.
Sheryl: What are some examples of times you’ve used these skills or seen them used?
Jana: When it comes to teachers, I’ve seen how well they handle it when students have problems.
For example, I have actually two teachers. The first was a geography teacher. There was an issue with one of my friends.
He went to the teacher and said, “Excuse me madam, I have some difficulties with this part of the exam. Can you help me a little bit?”
And the teacher was like, “Well, you should have asked your classmates. Why haven’t you studied? And she just ordered him back to his seat!”
And there was another time with my math teacher. It was almost that same thing. There was a girl writing the test and she went to the teacher and she said, “Excuse me sir, I know we learned this, but I can’t quite remember how to solve this exercise. Can you help me a little bit?”
And the teacher was like, “Yeah, sure. What are you having problems with? Maybe we can solve this together.”
I think the most upsetting in this is that I was surprised in how my math teacher reacted. I thought, “Oh my God how kind he was! And I think it’s quite upsetting that this is not natural.”
Sheryl: Tell me about some issues in your family.
Jana: I know one with my mother.
My mother and my father tried to put some pressure on me when it comes to school and learning.
The university that I want to attend is a private university and it’s really hard and most of the time youngsters fall out of the university because of too much pressure. So, my parents knew this, and we discussed it, and I agreed with this, that they would try and put some pressure on me, so I could compete with others.
So that’s why they were trying to put so much pressure on me.
But it was way too much for me. I tried to compete really hard, but also I had some other problems in my private life with my friends, and once I just freaked out when I was with my mother. I started crying really badly because I couldn’t keep up with the pressure they put on me.
First, I thought that she would be quite upset and she would tell me that if I can’t compete with this, then I won’t be able to compete in the university.
She was like, “Can you tell me what exactly is bothering you? Why do you think this is too much? What are your difficulties exactly? “
And I told her as much as I could. And she wasn’t freaking out! She just told me, “Okay, maybe we can find another solution. Let’s talk about, how to get some more pressure on you so you can be sure you can compete.”
This really surprised me.
And yesterday also, I had a problem with my sister. We were driving home from the gym and I forgot my ring there. And I always wear this ring. I really like it. It just gives me some strength and I was begging her to go back and she really didn’t want to. She was really, really, really tired.
She started to scold me, “Why did you leave your stuff? I’m not going to go back there. No. no. No!”.
But in the end, after we talked, we went back. And on the way back, we were still driving home, and we talked and she told me that she was so sorry that she was like that. She was sorry she upset me.
And she was telling me that she was so sorry she didn’t understand how important this ring was for me.
I know she wasn’t really using first, this method, but I think it was a really great thing that she noticed that she didn’t handle this in the best way, or as the Gordon method shows, but she was still able to handle it quite good I think later on.
So I think this a good example that nothing is lost, even if you weren’t able to do it right the first time.
Sheryl: What did that do for you?
Jana: I felt understood and that I could open up.
Sheryl: What about bullying and violence in school?
Jana: It’s difficult to tell here in Hungary. I go to a small school. There are only 500 people there and I’ve had the same classmates since 2011.
When it comes to bullying, there are some schools where it’s really an issue. Kids getting beat up everyday and also mental bullying, by words. That used to go on in my school too when we were smaller.
Now we just don’t care about the bullies.
Sheryl: Do you feel skills can help in situation with bullies?
Jana: It’s hard to say, because sometimes these kids don’t really understand these kinds of skills. They get offended from anything and everything.
In some situations, yes of course it can help, but sometimes it’s just no use.
Sheryl: Anything else you’d like to say?
Jana: Well, I can see that I’m a lot more understanding and I can handle situations a lot better because of the Gordon skills. Also, of course, I still have to learn. Just being a P.E.T. kid and learning from my parents is not enough to truly get this.
But the Gordon Model has had a great, an amazing impact on my childhood, the way I grew up.