There are two ways of relating to others. The traditional way is what Riane Eisler (in her book, The Chalice and the Blade) has called the dominator model in which there is unequal ranking--like the male over the female, parents over children, older over younger children. The more effective way is the partnership model in which some people are not superior and others inferior.
In the partnership model, all members are free of domination. In partnership families, the long-standing tradition of punishment of children would be gone. In family partnerships, conflicts would be resolved democratically and without violence, without winners or losers.
The arts or skills needed in partnership families, as identified by Eisler, are very similar to those taught there in Family Effectiveness Training:
- open are caring communication
- empathic and cooperative links between family members
- democratic relations
- power with others rather than power over them
- conflict that is both creative and productive
- the respectful dealing with differences
Partnerships strengthen, nourish and enrich relationships, while domination destroys, diminishes and deforms them. also, dominator relationships are hierarchical and authoritarian, and they contribute to both verbal and physical violence.
In partnership relations, people are motivated to achieve, while also being loving, supporting and nourishing of others. And, particularly, they use nonviolent ways of resolving their conflicts.
"A living partnerships is composed of two people--each of whom owns, respects and develops his or her own selfhood." (Rogers, 1971)
The famous educator, John Dewey, explained democracy as more than a form of government. It is a mode of living together as "associates" with mutual communication (Dewey, 1936).*
*Excerpt from Dr. Thomas Gordon's Family Effectiveness Training (F.E.T.) Young Adult Resource book