The most common misconception about Parent Effectiveness Training is that it encourages parents to "give-in" to their child's every desire. The idea that permissiveness is the alternative to power is a false dichotomy in itself. While permissiveness is, by definition, the opposite of strict, these options are not the only two that parents have. Moreover, the idea of meeting somewhere in the middle (i.e. compromise) falls on the same Strict-to-Lenient continuum, of which P.E.T. does not endorse.
Much is to be said about the negative outcomes of using parental power, but the effects of permissive parenting are just as damaging.
In any win-lose relationship, the unbalance of power takes form in a multitude of ways. Depending on the relationship and degree of power used on the parent, the side effects on the child can include:
- Lack of consideration for the needs of others
- Resistance in cooperation in group dynamics
- Lack of empathy toward others
- Inability to adapt to new environments
- Lack of problem solving skills
- Difficulty maintaining healthy adult relationships
This style of parenting has effects on the parent as well:
- Resentment/Passive Aggressiveness toward the child
- Lack of affection toward the child
- Emotional distance toward the child
Permissiveness can also show up in the form of becoming falsely accepting toward your child and his or her behaviors. False acceptance is a common method for parents who "don't want to deal with it" and submit to their children's demands, while simultaneously bearing resentment. One of the most serious symptoms of false acceptance is a lack of trust toward the parent which results in constant questioning, uncertainty and delinquency It's usually quite easy for children to pick up on the non-verbal signals that their parents send them, leaving them in a perpetual state of confusion about what their parent really feels and wants.
With permissive and authoritarian styles out the window, there lies a need for an alternative. P.E.T. teaches parents the communication methods and skills used for decades by many psychologists. By neither winning, losing or compromise, the P.E.T. method is unique in that it is the only (yes, I said only) approach that is on an entirely different spectrum—one that relies on influence, respect, and true fairness.
By: Selena George, P.E.T. Program Manager