May 25, 2011

What Type of Anger Personality Do You Have?

In P.E.T., Instructors teach many valuable tools to communicate more effectively, specifically when it comes to expressing your own feelings. In the workshop, we practice the use of sharing our positive or negative feelings via I-Messages. The funny thing is, some parents tend to have a longer list of those negative ones!

Anger and frustration are emotions commonly shared among most (if not all) parents. From time to time, your kids, spouses, co-workers and relatives will drive you nuts!

How do you express your anger?

Hidden Styles: Some keep their anger to themselves almost entirely. You may have met these people who are commonly referred to as a "push-over" or a "Yes man." These are the types who are so afraid of confrontation that they avoid it by any means necessary. They don't want to hurt the other's feelings, escalate the disagreement or have that uncomfortable "we need to talk" conversation. The inward-anger personality does this act of holding it in at a pretty high cost to themselves: stress, tension and anxiety.

Explosive Styles: Others erupt. Their anger comes out in strangely short-lived but intense bursts. This might come out as physical aggression, yelling, shouting and making your presence and anger be known within a five-mile radius. These types see inconveniences and injustices as threat to themselves, often taking things personally whether something was directed at them or not. Exploders tend to also be the kinds of people who internalize most of there frustration only to let it build up and eventually, to erupt.

Chronic Styles: Chronic anger personality styles are individuals who have developed a long-term general emotional state of being bitter and resentful. Their triggers are common, frequent and habitual. Similar to the explosive style, these are the types who take things personally more often than not and usually have some way of moralizing the reasoning for their frustrations. Cases like these are extreme, and likely fall under the umbrella of having an "anger disorder."

Whether justified or not, your tendency to get angry is directly influenced by your level of acceptance or in-acceptance with your childrens behavior. Upon first being introduced to the Confrontive I-Message, some parents go home eager to confront their children, feeling entitled to spew out their pent-up frustrations. It can be difficult to discern a Confrontive I-Message from what might actually be a hidden You-Message. It's hard for children not to feel as though they are the cause of your anger, no matter how you word it.

But taking a closer look at anger, we see that it is only the "tip of the iceberg" of other more primal emotions. Although our anger can be very real and very unpleasant, what's really going on beneath the anger are feelings of helplessness, fear, anxiety, hurt and sadness to name a few.

P.E.T. teaches us an effective alternative to letting our anger and blame out on our children.

Dr. Thomas Gordon put it best:

"Parents learn in P.E.T. that if they frequently vent angry You-Messages, they had better hold a mirror up to themselves and ask, "What is going on inside me?" "What needs of mine are being threatened by my child's behavior?" "What are my own primary feelings?" One mother courageously admitted in class that she had so often been angry at her children because she was deeply disappointed that having children prevented her from going on to graduate school to become a schoolteacher. She discovered that her angry feelings were actually resentment because she was disappointed at having her own career plans interrupted."
-P.E.T. Book p. 146, F.E.T. Adult Resource Book Session 3, p. 45

With a good amount of self-awareness and asking ourselves these questions, we will all be able to decipher our most primal emotions and take a step back before reacting in unproductive ways.

by Selena Cruz George, Program Manager

May 18, 2011

Our Big News - Now on Kindle!

Greetings to all of our P.E.T. Fans and Followers!

Gordon Training International is proud to announce our first eBook publication, available on Kindle and Amazon now!

Author of the best-selling "Parent Effectiveness Training" (P.E.T.), Dr. Thomas Gordon's "Teaching Children Self-Discipline" is known to be one of his best works.

Dr. Gordon addresses the number one concern of parents and teachers today - disciplining children. He shows why traditional disciplining doesn't work at home or in the classroom, and how to change children's behavior effectively using skills of cooperation instead.

A truly enlightening read for parents and teachers alike - and a perfect Summer read!

May 11, 2011

Should Mom & Dad Uphold a "United Front"

One of the most popular parenting theories debated is whether or not both parents need to be "coming from the same place." According to this stance, both parents should always back each other up so that that their child is led to believe that their two parents have one voice and that they both feel the same way about a particular behavior.

In the words of Dr. Thomas Gordon: "This is nonsense."

Yet this approach remains to be widely accepted.

The underlying message with this theory is also this:

Two Parents vs. One child = Parents Win

...And the power struggle cycle begins

Despite the fact that this is clearly unfair to the child, it may also require a sincere amount of effort for one parent to create falseness who might not actually feel the same way that the other does. This breeds resentment for the odd parent out who is having to go along with being untrue to their feelings.

No parent ever feels accepting toward all the behavior of a child. But what are the effects on the child when one parent is being falsely accepting?

Children are rather uncanny in sensing their parents' true feelings and parents also send "nonverbal messages" to their children - cues that are percieved by the children, sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously. Children will hear their parent telling them one thing, while noticing other signals that would lead them to believe that their parent really isn't telling the truth. Putting a child in such an inner conflict can seriously affect their psychological health.

Children, like most people in this dilema, will experience confusion and begin to struggle between wanting to be loved (accepted) by their parent as well as wanting to behave or "be allowed to" act in a certain way. This child is in a bind.

There is a serious by-product of being falsely accepting and in the long run this may be even more harmful to the relationship between parent and child. When a child receives "mixed messages," they may begin to have grave doubts about the honesty or genuineness of her parent. She learns from many experiences that Mother often says one thing when she feels anbother. Eventually the child grows to distrust such a parent.

This can bring on frequent "testing" on the part of the child, can cause children to carry around a heavy dose of anxiety, foster in children feelings of insecurity, and so on.

What do you think? Please share your thoughts with us here, on Facebook or Twitter.

Posted by: Selena Cruz George, P.E.T. Program Manager

May 4, 2011

Permissive Parents and Children

We often discuss in depth the effects of parents using their power to control behaviors and situations. For those parents and children who are on the opposite end of the spectrum, here are some reasons why we believe permissiveness doesn't work:

Sending I-Messages or "Talking Straight" can be hard.

We sometimes hide our true selves - our thoughts, feelings and opinions. We're afraid of disapproval, disagreement, criticism or rejection by others.

The need to be liked and accepted can be very strong. But when we keep our real thoughts and feelings to ourselves, we lose touch with what our true feelings are. We later become resentful because we didn't speak up. Others don't know what we really think, feel and need so they can't help us get our needs met.

What are the benefits of Talking Straight?

You may learn how similar or different you are to others. You may become more aware of your thoughts, feelings and needs so you can be the real you.

When other people know how you feel and what you need, they can often help you get your needs met.

Communicating clearly is a way of taking responsibility for yourself. It's important in relationships because it helps each person know how the other one feels - how the situation appears from the other's point of view.

The goal of talking straight with I-Messages is to keep your relationships in the No Problem Area of the Behavior Window where everyone is getting their needs met.

an excerpt from the Youth Effectiveness Training workbook, by Linda Adams