How we solve conflicts and problems is not a reflection on our being "good" or "bad" parents. Our approach comes from what we have learned from interactions with our own parents, teachers, friends, bosses, coworkers and others in our work and life. We are doing our best with the tools we have been given. For many parents, there is a fear of losing control and becoming victims of their children's demands. For other parents, it is a fear of becoming too dictatorial and controlling. both fears come from the win-lose way of thinking that is ingrained in today's world, work and life.
As a result of this thinking, the two most common ways to solve problems are Parent Wins and Child Loses - Method I in P.E.T. language, and Parent Loses and Child Wins - Method II. P.E.T. offers an alternative to these win-lose methods. The core idea in P.E.T. is: Parents have the right to get their needs met and, equally, so do children. Both must win; neither must lose. And the way to insure that this happens is deceptively simple and straight forward: Parent and child must commit themselves to search together until a solution is found that will meet their equally important needs, resolve the conflict, and preserve the relationship.
Learning to resolve conflicts effectively, in ways that enhance the parent-child relationship, can actually transform most conflict into positive events in a family--an opportunity for parents and children to learn about each other and the process of solving problems effectively.*
*Excerpt from Dr. Thomas Gordon's P.E.T. Participant Workbook