Feb 9, 2010

Can I Use Method III With Young Children?

A really good friend of mine that I've known since elementary school recently had a baby! :) So, I thought I would write a blog for everyone that has young children.


Many parents express doubts about using Method III with very young children. In fact, is is possible to apply the principals at a very early age by focusing on the non-verbal clues and cues your baby or child sends you. All behaviors are purposeful. Crying can be a communication about hunger, being cold, fear or an indication of another unmet need. When we relax, give up our preconceived ideas and listen to non-verbal as well as verbal clues from our infants and young children, we can find simple, creative solutions. Problems that could easily end up with parents using power are resolved in a true win-win fashion.

Case 1: with a 9 month old baby
Nine-month-old Erika got sick and resisted all attempts to give her medicine. Without it, her fever was increasing. Verbal encouragement did not work. Holding her firmly and putting small does into her mouth did not work either; she skillfully spit it out. Her increasingly desperate parents stopped and thought about their P.E.T. learning that behaviors are non-verbal messages about unmet needs. Her squirming behavior supported what they knew almost from birth - she did not like to be crowded or forced. The underlying message of her repeated reaching for the medicine spoon said, "I want some control." Tuning in to this they found a solution. Put part of the medicine in the spoon, let her hold it it with their help and aim it into her mouth. She made face but swallowed the three smaller doses. Even a nine-month-old can communicate her needs and show us a solution.

Case 2: with a 4-year old child
A four-year old girl put up a struggle each night at bedtime. Mom wanted some quiet time and was too tired to be patient by 10 p.m. The child explained she couldn't go to sleep right away and felt lonesome. It was mutually (and joyfully) agreed that the child would get tucked into bed, but could watch a DVD. Mom agreed to turn it off if the child fell asleep.

Case 3: with children ages 4, 6, and 8
Rhonda, age 8; Kim, age 6; and Danny, age 4, were confronted by their parents' irritation over their messy rooms. Rhonda and Kim complained that while they were at school, Danny came into their rooms and made a mess. Danny said he liked the girls' room because it has bunk beds. Mom and Dad listened to Danny say he really wanted a bunk bed. This wasn't feasible to Mom and Dad because the room was small and their baby brother, who shared the room, wasn't old enough to leave his crib. The family also couldn't afford it no. Many suggestions were made by all five people on how to construct a substitute bunk bed. Finally, Danny decided that he would be happy if his parents put a sleeping bag under the baby's crib and let him sleep there. He slept in the bag for three nights, and crawled into bed by himself on the fourth night. After that he slept in the bed, but left the bag under the crib to show his friends that Danny had two beds. After this, Danny tried hard to stay out of the girls' room.

Case 4: with a 2-year old child
A two-year boy wanted to stop and look into the display window of each store he and his mother passed. His mother was in a hurry to get to a store before it closed. She said, "You want to look in the windows, but if we do I will be late to the store. If we hurry now, I will let you look in the windows on our walk back to the car." Child agreed.

Case 5: with an 8-month old baby
An infant would spit out pureed vegetables every time they were offered. Her father, knowing she loved fruit, especially applesauce, decided to put a tiny big of vegetable on each spoonful of applesauce. The child did not reject it. Her father kept increasing the amount over a period of days until the child could eat vegetables without any applesauce.*

*Excerpt from Dr. Thomas Gordon's P.E.T. Participant Workbook

1 comment:

  1. I really need more posts like this that help with using p.e.t and little ones. I am struggling to apply these methods with my three year-old. Thanks so much for this one and please send more! Also, if you know of a website/blog/book that goes more in-depth on dealing with this age please pass along that info.


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