Nov 16, 2011

Advice from A P.E.T. Insturctor

A few weeks ago, we published a Q &A from a mother of two boys. If you missed it, you can read it here.

Here's another response, directly from one of our long-time Certified P.E.T. Instructors:

Dear Anonymus,

It looks like you are saying that yelling seems to help, as only when you yell they do what you want them to do? On the other hand you do not like to yell and you would rather want them to do what they’re told right away when you ask them in a nice way.

Changes do need time as habits may have become patterns and these are often tough to break through. What you can keep in mind though is that the no-lose method of Dr Thomas Gordon steps away from one person telling another person what to do or what not to do when there are problems (You-messages vs I-messages).

When solutions are made with the no-lose method and they do not work out the way you agreed upon, you all have to sit down and go over the 6 steps again. Especially step 2 with active listening. This is most important when problems have become conflicts and are a mixture of needs and values.

Doing homework is such a mixture. You have the value that they should do their homework and the need to preserve your happy mood and energy. Even though your sons may understand the value of doing homework, the value of homework is pretty abstract in the actual moment, in the ‘here and now’ and therefore they may not feel the need to do the homework. This ‘need’ can be woken up by you yelling. It is not that they all of a sudden want to do their homework because you yell. They may just need a peaceful house. So they may do homework for you to stop yelling!
I say a lot of ‘may’ as we don’t know until we hear everybody speak what is going on in them. But it is for you to open up your thoughts that anything is possible.

To break through this spiral you can start as suggested by GTI with a confrontive I message about the yelling, how that effects you and how much you would want to change this. Then it is up to them to respond and for you to active listen (They may say they don’t like it, or they don’t mind or they wait for you to yell…anything is possible ; maybe they are not set up well where to do the homework- maybe it is too easy – or maybe it is too hard and they need help – maybe they like to do it in the morning – maybe – maybe there is a deeper underlying problem etc. they will let you know if you active listen).

My suggestion is to go through the 6 step no-lose method in order for you all to come up with solutions to try out. Elaborate on step 6! Set a week for try out. After a week you sit down together, evaluate, see what worked and what did not work and where you have to make adjustments! You will make a start for meetings with true participation.

I remember very well the joy my boys and I sometimes felt when we got through some problems and had come up with solutions to try out. Solutions were never ‘final’. We knew we would always sit back together if one of us was unhappy. This by itself made us do our utmost to make the solutions work!


Cielja Kieft
Gordon Trainer
Mother and Grandmother

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