Here is the question we chose to answer from last week's invite to ask us a parenting question:
While reading P.E.T. I had many a-hah moments more so when I remembered
going on L.E.T. years earlier. But I'm still frustrated in implementing
some of this with low verbal toddlers. I'm working on it though, making
mistakes but still trying. Any extra information would be appreciated
even better if it helps me deal with twin toddlers with different base
personalities (which is a good thing) and different levels of verbal
My specific question revolves around those things that
are direct safety issues. No, they don't "have" to hold my hand while
crossing a road but they can't dash across the street on their own. Yes,
they can fill and turn on the kettle but they can't play in the water
that comes out of it (no matter how much they scream). How do I get
across that something is dangerous without demonstrating the
consequences (fire burns, sharp knives poked into your brother will cut
him etc). I want them to question things but there really are some
things around safety where mommy does know best.
Thank you for submitting your question here on the P.E.T. blog. It's cool to hear that you've taken L.E.T. as well! It sounds like L.E.T. gave you a good foundation before reading the P.E.T. book.
First, your question about toddlers with different speech levels and personalities is relevant to two things: (1) the behavior window and (2) using I-Messages with young children.
You might notice your level of acceptance change between both of the children. Each child is an individual as well, and just as our acceptance levels change from person to person, so do they with our own children. More on this is outlines in Chapter One of the P.E.T. book.
As for using the skills with very young children, you will learn that there are ways of listening to AND talking to kids this young by using nonverbal messages and the like. As Thomas Gordon wrote in the P.E.T. book, "It is a misperception that Active Listening is useful only for children old enough to talk." By showing or "acting it out" instead of using speech, you can help determine what your child needs or what he might be saying to you. More on this is in Chapter Five of the P.E.T. book.
Lastly, you sound confused about how to use P.E.T. with safety issues. It wounds silly to send your children an I-Message right before they are about to seriously injure themselves. Here is the only exception to using your parental power to interfere before your child gets hurt. When safety is a concern, do whatever means necessary to get them out of danger. You might want to preface these things by using Preventive I-Messages (before an incident occurs), Confrontive I-Messages (during or after an incident), or even by modifying the environment to prevent any accidents from occurring. Of course, there is much more on this throughout the P.E.T. book.
I hope this helps answer your questions and please feel free to follow up. :)
(P.S. Please email us to give your shipping information for your free book and sticker: firstname.lastname@example.org.)