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For a relationship to change in any significant way, he who holds the power must change. - T. Gordon
discipline is by definition need-depriving as opposed to
need-satisfying." - T. Gordon
I like the ideas of Thomas Gordon. I have collected some of his writing here. Today I reviewed the Gordon Training website. I started getting the idea that he had died and did some more checking and found out he did die, in 2002. After spending some time on the site, I feel more worried now about the direction the company is going. I have some specific concerns, but overall I would say his training courses, assuming they are fairly true to his original ideas, are probably still quite good. I still would definitely recommend reading his books. (library and bookstore page)
Below are links to notes and articles.
Other EQI.org Topics:
Notes from Parent Effectiveness Training (PET) 1975 - These are some of my notes from his book.
Articles by Thomas Gordon
http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/thomas_gordon_obituary.html - Brief biography
http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/thomas_gordon2.html - Article by Gordon "Children don't really misbehave"
Also by Thomas Gordon - Discipline that works
|Notes from Parent Effectiveness
Training (PET) 1975
In the introduction Gordon says he was pleased when he was asked by schools for his help in training teachers. He writes:
He then designed a course for teachers and called it the TET. He writes:
Later he writes that he believes "for a relationship to change in any significant way, he who holds the power must change." (p xv)
Below are direct quotes from the book:
Chapter 1 - Parents are Blamed But Not Trained
Everybody blames parents for the troubles of youth and for the troubles that young people appear to be causing society. It's all the fault of parents, mental health experts lament, after examining the frightening statistics on the rapidly increasing number of children and youth who develop serious or crippling emotional problems, who become victims of drug addiction, or commit suicide. Political leaders and law-enforcement officials blame parents for raising a generation of ingrates, rebels, protesters, hippies, peace demonstrators, and draft-card burners. And when kids fail in school or become hopeless drop-outs, teachers and school administrators claim that the parents are at fault. Yet who is helping parents? How much effort is being made to assist parents to become more effective in raising children? Where can parents learn what they are doing wrong and what they might do differently? Parents are blamed, but not trained. Millions of new mothers and fathers take on a job each year that ranks among the most difficult anyone can have, taking an infant, a little person who is almost totally helpless, assuming full responsibility for his physical and psychological health and raising him so he will become a productive, cooperative, and contributing citizen. What more difficult and demanding job is there? (p 1&2)
As a practicing clinical psychologist, I used to be as convinced as most parents that the period called "the terrible teens" was both normal and inevitable-the result of youngsters' universal desire to establish their independence and rebel against their parents I was sure that adolescence, as most studies have shown, was invariably a time of storm and stress in families. Our experience with P.E.T. has proven me wrong. Time and time again, parents trained in P.E.T. have reported the surprising absence of rebellion and turmoil in their families. (p 2)
I am now convinced that adolescents do not rebel against parents. They only rebel against certain destructive methods of discipline almost universally employed by parents. Turmoil and dissension in families can be the exception, not the rule, when parents learn to substitute a new method of resolving conflicts. (p3)
Parents today rely almost universally on the same methods of raising children and dealing with problems in their families that were used by their own parents, by their parents' parents, by their grand parents' parents. Unlike almost all other institutions of society, the parent-child relationship seems to have remained unchanged. Parents depend on methods used two thousand years ago! (p4)
A few professionals certainly have tried to pass on new ideas and methods to parents, particularly Haim Ginott, who pointed our in his book, Between Parent and Child, how parents can talk more therapeutically to a child and avoid damage to his self-esteem. However, even those relatively few parents who have read this and other books show little evidence in our classes of having modified their behavior very significantly, particularly their approach to discipline and handling parent-child conflicts.
p14 It is essential that
you learn what you are feeling.
f you are interested in parenting or teaching, please be sure to read the page on Haim Ginott show in the link above.
In comparison to all the material I like from Thomas Gordon, I just have a few criticisms..
On pages 10, 11 talks about parents who are winners, losers and oscillators. He implies that all conflicts are battles. He does not speak in terms of whose needs come first.
Judging by his website seems the company based on his ideas seems to be more interested in making money than in helping children and parents these days. There is some information on it, but mostly it seems like a big advertisement for his products and consulting services. (these were my original comments the first time I reviewed the site)
By the way if you are interested in parenting please be sure to read chapter 10 from my book. While I was feeling very critical of parents when I wrote, I now actually feel amazed to see how accurate I was in my analysis of the cause effect relationships between parents and children. I don't feel boastful when I say this, but I do want people to appreciate that I was able to see things very clearly even though I was not a formally trained psychologist or child development expert.
Aprl 2006 update - After working with suicidal teens for the past few years, I feel even more sure that my ideas were right on target in my 1996 chapter on parenting. None of the teens I talk to would be suicidal or self-harming if the parents followed the suggestions in my book.
Here is a copy of something from www.nobleednews.com (with some minor edits)
The specific link is http://www.nobleednews.com/the_gordon_model.htm#Initiating%20the%20Gordon%20Model
I feel troubled by this definition of an "I message" which I got to from a pop up on their site.
That's now how I understand an "I message" to be.
First, I don't like calling it a "tool".
Second, I don't saying it is for "influencing others to change behavior". This implies the only reason to use it is to try to change someone else. Between this and calling it a tool it sounds too much like a trick to manipulate someone. I don't think this was Gordon's original intent.
Third, I don't like this part about interfering with your ability to meet your needs. For one thing it sounds like you are being pretty self-centered, for another does this mean that saying "I love you" is not an I message?
Fourth, I don't like the part about "it makes you feel". If a girl rejects me and I say "I feel suicidal", does that mean she made me feel that way? Or is it more accurate to say that my feelings are acually more a result of years of lonliness, discouragement and rejection, and her rejection simply triggered all this past pain?
I am not sure what else to say besides "makes" though. Sometimes I say "helps me feel" something, but this is awkard. I think I would just leave it as "I feel..." and not try to say in one or two words what the cause and affect is. It is likely to be too complicated to so simplistically.
Fifth, I don't like the "confronting someone else's behavior". I don't think an "I message" has to be confrontational at all. To me confronting is very close to attacking.
Finally, I don't like the "unacceptable behavior" part. That makes it sound like you are being pretty authoritarian, deciding what is "acceptable" and "unacceptable." It doesn't sound like there is much room for consideration or respect of the other person's feelings, not to mention compassion for the other person or understanding of their reaons for what they are doing. Generally anyone who talks about "behavior" seems to sound like a teacher or parent to me. Teens don't talk much about other people's "behavior." The word itself, to me has authoritarian and judmental associations. And if not that, then at least clinical.
Something else I don't like about the site is that it seems like the whole site is pretty much one big advertisement and they only want to give you enough free info to get you interested in buying something.
For example, I was trying to learn what a "behavior window" was and when I clicked on the term I got a pop up, similar to the one on "I messages" which said this:
This doesn't tell me anything useful. This is just an ad for the idea of a behavior window, and thus the company's courses. Here are my "I messages": I feel resentful, tricked, kept in the dark, taunted, offended, discriminated against (because if I had money and access to one of the courses I could find out what this tempting term is, but since I am in Sala, Argentina, it is unlikely I could find out anywhere around here, even if I spent hours or even days trying to.)
By the way, later I found an article which talked about the term again and had a graphic of what used to be called the window of acceptance. I still feel resentuful of the time I had to spend trying to find even that article.
Something else which troubles me. I clicked on a list of their client list and it looks like a lot of big corporations.
tgx.h... has backup copy of children dont really misbehave art
|From TG website... Aug 2012
*Individual P.E.T. Instructor Training On-site Workshop
We can send a Master P.E.T. Trainer to you for a private 2-day instructor training, at your location. You will work one-on-one with our trainer to prepare you to teach P.E.T. classes in your community. The training will consist of discussion, skill-building exercises, activities and lots of practice teaching.
Pricing for the individual certification includes the P.E.T. Instructor Kit. The tuition is $3,195. The Master Trainers travel, lodging and meals are additional.