Recently, we had an interested question sent to us on our Facebook page:
First off, to simply say "no," that P.E.T. is not an advocate of punishment would only be giving half of the answer. The use of the term "bad behavior" is a major underlying issue here. P.E.T. encourages parents not to view behaviors as "bad" or "good" because such labeling does not encourage children to change their behavior, among other things (at least, not in the long run!). Given the idea that all behaviors are simply attempts to get a certain need met, we can view things from a different frame of mind.
For example, in a traditional sense, a screaming child would likely be seen as "behaving badly". But consider that this child is screaming for a reason. Active Listening is the way to find that reason behind the commonly misunderstood behaviors of a child, or of anyone for that matter. This child is experiencing a problem or obstacle to getting his or her need met. She might be hungry, tired, in need of attention/affection, feeling unsafe or insecure, etc. It would be absurd to think that a child could communicate these feelings in an effective manner; especially considering that many adults still struggle from doing this. The question at hand then becomes: Why punish a child for expressing an unmet need?
What are your thoughts on this? We'd love to hear from you. Please feel free to comment below or send us an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
by: Selena George, P.E.T. Program Manager