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Dr. Thomas Gordon ~ Parent Effectiveness Training
note: This book is good enough, and readers were excited enough about it a year ago when I shared, that I thought it worthwhile to share again!
I read, and I learn from listening to those I admire, and I watch documentaries, and I enjoy what I learn. However, I have such a time remembering what I’ve learned (oh and that reminds me, I forgot to purchase Ginko tea today when I was at the store!).
The information and advice that I received from one particular book in the past year remains in my head and I believe it is for two reasons. 1)I really liked it 2)I wrote about it: I shared it here with you, on the blog.
It was called A Good Enough Parent, by Bruno Bettelheim. Wow, I even remembered how to spell his last name, this is good Thus, I want to share some tidbits with you, from the newest parenting book I am reading: Parent Effectiveness Training: The Proven Program for Raising Responsible Children, by Dr. Thomas Gordon.
This book originated in the early 70’s, so the advice is not new-age, but I am feeling that it could be life-altering ~ as long as it can be read and then retained and put to use.
I just wanted to share a bit ~ so far I think this book is good:
Dr. Gordon discusses his opinion that if we can show ourselves as accepting parents to our children, showing them with our actions and nonverbal cues, that we accept them for who they are and that we believe in them and trust them, then they will automatically want to reach their potential. He compares it to a seed in soil ~ the soil nurtures and provides yet the seed contains all of its potential inside.
Being accepting of who the children are does not encourage them to just stay as they are and not grow, but on the contrary gives them an urge to grow on their own.
Dr. Gordon talks about two ways (so far, I am not too far just yet) that we can show our acceptance:
Passively Listening to Show Acceptance: nodding and paying attention when our children share their concerns or stories with us, listening and showing that we are connected without butting in with our own ideas or judgements about how they should do/have done something they are sharing with us. Dr. Gordon notes that this encourages the child to share beyond the facts – including releasing their feelings, contemplating consequences and reaching self-initiated problem solving.
Non Intervention to Show Acceptance: letting a child do their activities without intervening. Letting a child make his own mistakes. When we frequently check-in, join in, interfere and intrude on a child’s play, we are sending him/her a non-verbal message that we do not accept them or trust them to perform in an acceptable way.
How we speak to our children is essential and telling ~ that is what I will be reading about next.
Dr. Gordon begins this book stating that Parents Are Blamed but Not Trained. Parents are fingered for the troubles with their children, but who trains the parents how to do a good job to begin with?
Most of us want to be very good parents. But oh the stress in trying to not only be a good and balanced human on your own, but also to raise responsible, grateful, kind children. This is truly, the hardest job in the world. I, for one, sought out this text because as my children grow, I grow more fearful that I will make a mistake.
I can provide love and healthy food and art projects and fresh water ~ but what happens when so much more is required? And what happens when the love, food and art projects no longer tickle their fancy?
I’m nervous, and I know I’m not alone. It is up to us to train ourselves. I hope that if I can keep some notes (via blog posts) on this not-new but eye-opening book, I can not only embed the knowledge deeper into my mind, but hopefully inspire something for another parent.
I have been a mom for over 6 years ~ but I did not know (!) that when I check on my son while he is playing alone or with his brother that I am sending him/them a signal that I am not completely accepting of the activity. Yikes.
I have been a mom for over 6 years ~ but I did not know (!) that when I respond in an inquiring fashion during my son’s stories (and interrupt with my ideas of how to fix things) that I am sending the wrong message, and limiting his problem-solving skills by throwing my pre-packaged solutions at him. Yikes.
I am always open to book/website recommendations from readers, of course ~ we are a generation of mothers and fathers seeking to do the right thing with/for our children, seeking new ways and new answers while inspiring independence and encouraging empathy.
above image: Golden Moment, archival prints are available here
Love & Sincerely, Katie