Two potential Role plays for the Younger Age Group

Thanks to some International Schools in Beijing, I visited Beijing twice in the short period of three months and inhaled more of its pollution, which happened to be more dense the second time round.  My three week visit also provided another occasion to meet with the ex-pat PET instructors, who attended some of my bullying seminars as well.   It seems that many of the parents who attend PET there are those with young children rather than teens, hence their courses are more heavily skewed towards the younger end of the spectrum, and requested more role plays for this age group.

Upon return, one of our Australian instructors shared a problem she was having with a mother in her present PET class.  This mother is Chinese and has enormous difficulties with active listening, and despite the seven weeks of PET, is still fighting the habit of ‘telling’ the child ‘whatever’ and expecting compliance.   ‘Old habits die hard’ as they say.

One of her issues is that her 7 year old refuses to practice the piano.  She does not know what the ‘bottom of his/her cone’ is… as yet.  Even with good active listening, there is still no guarantee that the child will voice his/her cone-issue, however we know that AL (active listening) will provide the best conditions for its revelation.

This mother seemed intense in getting the child to play the piano, and would probably provide a list of benefits for excelling in this skill.  All logical road blocking stuff !   This would be difficult to role play as we may not be able to guess what the core reason for this resistance really is.   So this instructor and myself brainstormed some possible cores that could belong to a 7 year old.

Here is my list:

  • I don’t like the piano
  • I don’t like the music I have to play
  • I don’t like the teacher
  • the teacher sits too close to me while I play
  • the piano lessons at school are during my lunch time break…so I miss out on soccer / friends
  • my friends say that piano is for girls
  • my fingers can’t reach all the keys…I don’t like to stretch ..
  •  the piano is too big…I prefer a small musical instrument I can walk around with…
  • (your additions here)

In this real case, the mother does not play the piano herself…and perhaps there is some vicarious living going on here….some need she has for him or her.   In Beijing, a similar piano issue was shared. _____________________________________________________________________________________________

The second issue that was shared, was the problem of brushing teeth before bedtime.  (Session 2 or 3 or 8)This group are at Session 8 of their course and the brushing of teeth prior to bed is a major concern for a few parents.   This is where the skills of consultancy need to be employed.

Consultant: – a) know the facts

                                b) present facts clearly  * *

Imagine the Shifting gears diagram….(which I won’t draw here.)

Mum:  time to brush your teeth before bed.

Child: Noooo!… I don’t want to.

Mum: …..AL (active listening)…

followed immediately with an I-M.

“I would like you to brush your teeth like you always do…because we and you have done a lot of eating at tea and some of the small bits of food could be stuck between our teeth.

Child: No…there is no food stuck between my teeth

Mum: …..AL:  . . . .

“Yes, there are no chunky bit of food….because if there were chunky bits, you would feel it.   The food that I am talking about are small bits that might be stuck in the narrow gaps between each tooth…bits so small that our tongue can’t feel it”.

You see….(parent gets a piece of paper and draws the mouth and teeth)

  • using a different colour, say red or green, show food lodged between the teeth.
  • Because these pieces are so small (particles) we can’t feel them with our tongue
  • If we go to sleep from now to 7.00am, that will be ___ hours
  • During that time, the food particles will decay…go rotten…and can affect the gums around the tooth.
  • at night, our mouth does not make saliva…..during the day our mouth is always making   saliva so the food particles at recess and lunch time are dissolved…but at night, there is no saliva to dissolve these particles.
  • …and also, our breath can end up smelling a smell that others will notice…

There could be resistance to any bits of advice….so the parent needs to be alert to this, and AL that  resistance at least once, before supplying more advice/more information.

Another tack to take / an additional tack:

a) What is the taste that you have in your mouth at the moment? (it will probably be the taste of the evening meal)

b) After you brush your teeth, what is the feeling you have in your mouth?  ( I am processing for ‘freshness’ here)                                                 Exactly !…that is a sign that the mouth is clean…freshness – clean

Turn such events into educational moments.

Robert Pereira About the author: I have been teaching PET and TET since 1977 all over Australia as well as Papua New Guinea. Over the years, I have developed a PET course for Young parents with Children aged between 0 and 6 years, for single-parents, and pregnant teenagers.Once I discovered PET in 1977, it has remained one of the most productive and exciting things in my repertoire. I am always looking for better and more interesting ways of teaching this course, and to apply the skills to contemporary issues that parents are facing today. People often comment on the realism in the role play scenarios offered in the training and can hear their own children come through. ‘We only had this same situation occur two days ago’ said a dad. I travel around Australia, training teachers to address the growing problem of School Bullying in an educational manner, as well as providing parents with a deeper understanding as to ‘why children bully.’ I authored a parent and teacher resource titled ‘Why We Bully’ which is the result of over 5,000 lessons with children and teenagers over the years. I have sought to apply PET and TET skills to the many contemporary issues facing parents and teachers of today, and developing these Effectiveness Training courses to address these issues. Hence, this PET programme, which was originally development just over 50 years ago, remains as relevant today as it did in 1962.I am able to travel to the outback to offer PET courses to isolated communities.

4 comments… add one
  • Contrary to popular thinking, research studies of wolves in their natural habitat demonstrate that wolves are not dominated by an “Alpha Wolf” that is the most aggressive male, or male-female pairing, of the pack. Rather, they have found that wolf packs are very similar to how human families are organized, and there is little aggression or fights for “dominance.” Wolves, whether it be the parents or the cubs of a pack, depend on each other to survive in the wild; consequently wolves that engage in aggressive behaviors toward each other would inhibit the pack’s ability to survive and flourish. While social hierarchies do exist (just as they do among human families) they are not related to aggression in the way it is commonly portrayed (incorrectly) in popular culture. As Senior Research Scientist L. David Mech recently wrote regarding his many years of study of wolves, we should “once and for all end the outmoded view of the wolf pack as an aggressive assortment of wolves consistently competing with each other to take over the pack.” (Mech, 2008) In addition to our new understanding of wolf behavior, study into canine behavior has found that dogs, while sharing some traits with their wolf cousins, have many more significant differences. As a result, the idea that dog behavior can be explained through the application of wolf behavior models is no more relevant than suggesting that chimpanzee behavior can be used to explain human behavior. Unfortunately, this idea that dogs are basically “domesticated wolves” living in our homes still persists among dog trainers and behavior counselors, as well as breeders, owners, and the media.

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  • Wood and Davidson (2003) documented linguistic changes made by parents after PET training and showed how these reflected not only attitudinal shifts towards a more collaborative style of parenting, but also demonstrated the positive communication patterns found in strong families.

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  • This course is suitable for parents required to do a parenting course for Family Court custody proceedings.

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  • Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) is a parent education program based on the Gordon Model by Thomas Gordon . Dr. Gordon taught the first P.E.T. course in 1962 and the courses proved to be so popular with parents that he began training instructors throughout the United States to teach it in their communities. Over the next several years, the course spread to all 50 states. In 1970, Dr. Gordon wrote the “Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.)” book which gave many more parents access to this new parenting philosophy. As a result, people in many parts of the world became interested in making the course available in their countries. The book became a best-seller and was updated in 2000 revised book .

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