When the messages are not clear, as in the case of prolonged anger or silence, a lot of Active Listening is necessary. Sometimes even vigorous Active Listening isn't enough and the parent needs to introduce Method III and offer to guide the children through it. A good deal of confronting may be necessary to resist the children's tendency to either give up (Method II) or solve the problem with a solution imposed by the "rescuing" parent.
Children sometimes arrive at satisfactory solutions without anyone's help, but more often than not this does not happen because the real issues are not uncovered. The antagonists rarely listen to and understand each other (even though a lot of words get exchanged).
There is no process for the defusing of strong feelings, and problem-solving doesn't get organized and underway. Parents who facilitate their children to solve their own problems realize a triple benefit: resolution of the immediate problem between the children, more effective problem-solving skills in the future, and mutual respect within all family relationships.*
*Excerpt from Dr. Thomas Gordon's P.E.T. Participant Workbook