Parent Effectiveness Training (PET)
In 1995 I attended a PET course to help me parent my toddler. Everything about this way of handling family relationships seemed to match my own values, and to be healthy and positive. It was only when I was studying to be a counsellor years later that I discovered PET’s creator, Dr Thomas Gordon, had been influenced strongly by the work of Carl Rogers, the founder of the Person-Centred Approach to counselling.
PET is different from most other parenting courses currently on offer in the UK. One of the best things about it is that it applies to all ages, from birth to twenties. This means you don’t have to suddenly learn a whole new way to handle family life when your child turns 8 or turns 13. It works well because it’s based on a concise set of skills which you can apply to any situation, like using a template.
PET is also different because it doesn’t require you to be consistent, either with a co-parent, or even with yourself from day to day! Yet it gives your child a strong feeling of your consistency as a person, a person who has high self-esteem and reacts to situations in a thoughtful way.
PET helps you bring up children who are better at problem-solving, are empathetic, understand their own feelings well, and can handle conflict constructively.
PET does not depend on a power relationship between you and your children, but is based on respect for the needs of everyone in the family. Everyone is a person and everyone deserves to have their needs met, including the parents! This method of parenting reduces feelings of resentment and helps to stop conflicts escalating.
PET does not rely on rewards and punishments to control children’s behaviour. Instead, it focuses on the quality of the relationships in the family. So children grow up experiencing healthy relationships, learning to recognise the effects of their behaviour on other people, and learning how to get their own needs met.
You can find out more about PET here: