How do I get them to listen to me and do what I want?

In P.E.T we don’t speak from a place of getting anyone to do what we want..… With explanation we make it clear why we WANT them to do something rather than just demand it be done and use parental power. It starts with making sure everyone is aware that their needs are all equally as important as the next person. If they are behaving in a way that is effecting you getting something done or tangibly causes you stress then we have a specific skill called I-Messages that manages this and sends a non-blameful message about how they are affecting you. At the end of the day we want them to stop because they realise they are causing you to be upset not because you tell them to do it!

How can I get them to talk to me nicely?

In P.E.T again we believe this comes back to mutual respect and if we speak to them nicely and calmly it is more likely they will model that same behaviour. A big in-road into this can be made by ‘listening to them’ when they have a problem. Really listening and giving them your time so they feel heard, loved and empathised with. There are times where you will send an I-Message so they realise that the way they talk to you is affecting you emotionally and/or physically. P.E.T is very authentic in nature and you must be prepared to speak to your children openly and honestly about your feelings and the effects they have on you.

I want to stop yelling and feel guilty afterwards but its the only way i can get them to do anything.

This is unfortunately a really common predicament a lot of parents end up in. It relates to using ‘power’ and making children do what you want without a very clear explanation of why. It doesn’t have to take a long time once you get used to this style of communication. Once we start to yell and use threats and power it creates push-back in them (as it would an adult if someone yelled at you and ordered you to do something without a reason) as well as ending up a little pointless as they become immune to this approach. It also just creates anxiety in everyone around the situation. I-Messages and shifting gears are the major skills in P.E.T that address this issue. We also talk about value differences when issues are repeatedly happening and I-Messages and other skills aren’t helping to change the behaviour. We give you great, insightful ways to address this.

How can i get siblings to stop fighting?

Start by asking yourself – What are my expectations of siblings fighting? Do i think they shouldn’t at all? How accepting am I of minor disagreements or even other non physical arguments. I know it doesn’t sound like an answer but it is actually very natural for siblings to fight. The advice I give all my clients here is send them messages that you trust them to work it our without you and if suitable tell them you will actually need to calmly leave the room and they can get you if they need you. There will be times this doesn’t solve fighting and we don’t want anyone hurt, but the more you can send messages that you trust them to work it out and not jump in to save the day or yell and separate  them, they feel more capable of managing it themselves…. And they will.

How can I get them to tell me stuff when they are teenagers?

P.E.T when implemented early can truly save so much heartache I see parents go through with teenagers… and also what the teenagers go through. If you have only just started to implement P.E.T and they are in their teens then you must keep true to using the skills and keep reassuring them this is the new way we communicate. Tell them its for everybody’s best interest so we can all feel equal and heard. Listening is the way to get teenagers to tell you whats going on in their world. Active listening is the skill P.E.T teaches that creates unbreakable connection and they will feel safe to tell you anything, because they don’t feel judged or ignored by you.

What if my husband/wife/partner parents differently to me?

This is not the end of the world. A major myth we bust in P.E.T is that parents must always have a united front with children. This isn’t reality, so as long as you honestly explain that Mum and dad think differently and thats ok they will accept this gracefully and you can move forward. It is however extremely helpful and recommended that both parents complete P.E.T training, purely because the skills are psychologically backed and in the very best interest of your connection with your children/child. It wouldn’t be nice to experience your spouse having a greater connection with your child/children than you all for the sake of 24 hours worth of training and a few dollars.


Dr Thomas Gordon

Author, Psychologist PhD, P.E.T Course creator, Gordon Training international

Children are in most need of love and attention when they seem least deserving of it

Dr Thomas Gordon

Author, Psychologist PhD, P.E.T Course creator, Gordon Training international