As seen in "San Diego Parent Magazine" -- January 1999
Written by: Renee Collier
In 1962, Thomas Gordon, Ph.D., of Solana Beach was working as a therapist in private practice. An overwhelming number or parents were bringing in their children for help. "These parents wanted me to fix the children up and send them back in better shape," says Gordon. "Very quickly I realized the problem parents were having had to do with the way the child was responding to their parenting techniques."
Gordon's need for a solution to this problem was the catalyst for his now internationally known program, Parent Effectiveness Training, widely recognized as the first skill-based training program for parents. PET focus on the parent/child relationships--and alternatives to the "rewards and punishment" technique. "My program was the first to tell parents they can raise healthy and loving children without ever punishing them or rewarding them by saying, 'If you do this, you will get this,' "says Gordon. "Treat your child like you would your spouse. If you think about it, you never tell your husband to go to his room because he didn't take out the trash." Democracy, he says, is the way to win in any relationship.
The 80-year-old author of eight books on relationships formulated his technique with his own family, involving his two daughters in making family rules, Children, he believes, love to be a part of decision making. "Rules become our rules instead of your rules," says Gordon. If children have problems with the rules, the family meets to discuss how to make them better. For example, if your child does not feel like going to bed at a time he is supposed to, discuss the objection. Find out why the child does not want to go to bed--perhaps because he's afraid of the dark or genuinely not tired.