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Parent Effectiveness Training: The Proven Program for Raising Responsible Children

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  1,480 ratings  ·  146 reviews
P.E.T., or Parent Effectiveness Training, began almost forty years ago as the first national parent-training program to teach parents how to communicate more effectively with kids and offer step-by-step advice to resolving family conflicts so everybody wins.  This beloved classic is the most studied, highly praised, and proven parenting program in the world -- and it will ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published October 31st 2000 by Harmony (first published 1970)
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Giorgos Economu Practically, it addresses to parents with older children (say 5-6 to teens), although it contains references to how these methods can and should be im…morePractically, it addresses to parents with older children (say 5-6 to teens), although it contains references to how these methods can and should be implemented from an early age. The author strongly advises so.(less)

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Jul 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting-child
Excellent book with many practical examples.

Three main techniques:

Active Listening
When a child presents a problem/concern/expresses something at all, echo back to them what you hear they are FEELING (not just parrot back what they say), no judgement, evaluation, lecture, etc. Just LISTEN and echo back what they say, allowing them to own the problem and come to their own solution. Do not worry if in one listening session a problem is not reached - it is not your problem to solve.

I Messages
"I fee
Al Duran
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: social-sciences
This book is very helpful not only for parenting and child rearing, but also for improving interpersonal relations in general. Engaging in active listening, avoiding blaming others with "you" messages and focusing on "I" messages, and participating in "no-lose" conflict resolution will make one a happier and more cooperative individual. The techniques illustrated in P.E.T. helped me become a better person after I first read the book when I was in my twenties.
Absolutely the best parenting book I've read. It's already had the biggest impact on our lives of any parenting book I've read. And it seems to be the book that all my favorites were based on. Are you a fan of Playful Parenting, Unconditional Parenting, Siblings Without Rivalry, or Raising our Children Raising Ourselves? You'll love this book. Actually if you want to learn specific techniques for parenting and are open to why the traditional model isn't working, you'll love this book. Actually e ...more
Jul 06, 2008 rated it liked it
I'm not sure about this one. I think the main methods outlined: Active Listening, using I-messages,and finding solutions together with your children instead of imposing them from above, are good in theory, and I've been using all three. However, the author never really addresses the two issues I grapple with most often: 1. the moment-by-moment corrections of things that aren't a huge deal,but are important (please don't drag that furniture across the floor, could you do that in the potty instead ...more
Sarah Ford
Apr 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Although this is a book about parenting, I recommend it to you if you're interested in improving your relationships with everyone.

The premise of the book is that some parents use their power to control their children, while other parents, in order to be liked by their kids or to keep the peace, allow their children to do whatever they want at the expense of their own needs. The author details these scenarios and then offers a third possibility, one in which situations are resolved in ways that
Jan 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Read this book many years ago and was thinking of it today. One of the best books I have ever read and as another reviewer said it is life-changing. This book is not really just for parenting, it is for anyone who interacts with other human beings on a regular basis and wants to improve communication in their relationships. I was deeply saddened when Dr. Gordon passed away. Now here's someone that really deserved a nobel peace prize.

"Dr. Thomas Gordon (March 11, 1918 – August 26, 2002) was an Am
Oct 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I had touted Love and Logic parenting for a long time... but then I realized I couldn't implement it effectively, lovingly and in a way where I felt I was being respectful of my children as individuals. I always felt like I was manipulating circumstances and making up natural consequences to make a point. I also didn't like it when they were old enough to turn it around on me or attempt it (incorrectly) on each other (e.g., "Hey, sis, do you want to play with me or do you want me to throw my sho ...more
Jul 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book has one very important idea that really works. Once you get the concept, it seems like the author drones on and on about it. TLDR; this could be a three chapter book. I highly recommend reading the first couple of chapters and skimming until you find parts you want to read. The examples throughout are very worthy.

The P.E.T. technique has really revolutionized the relationship between me and my child.

Warning, the intro makes it sound like this book promote permissive parenting. Don't b
Eike Post Preischaft
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am not a parent myself but this was an excellent book, that made me improve my communication not only with children but with any other human beeing.
There are three things that are really well explained:
1. reacting to conflict and to child's problem by active listening
2. reacting to conflict and misbehavior with "I feel statement"
3. cooperative conflict solution

It is such a good book that I summarized it here:
Jun 06, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
I wish again that I could give half-stars to my reviews.

This book is very out of date. I think that there may be a revised edition, but it wasn't available at my library. Using a public phone booth stopped costing a dime before I was born, for example. The outdated examples made it difficult to pay attention to the content, because I was too busy rolling my eyes at the book.

The basic principles are sound. Active listening and being empathetic with your child are very good tools to connect with y
I found active listening, I-messages, and no-lose conflict resolution to be very useful concepts and I think I'll get a lot from this book on that front, but I felt like the book itself was about twice (or more) as long as it needed to be, very repetitive, and very...I don't know, borderline-infomercialish in terms of the way Gordon promoted his perspective. So it was a bit of a slog on that level. And all of the proclamation about the tendencies "today's youths" just made me roll my eyes, becau ...more
Feb 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This was a life-changing book for me. I read it in conjunction with a class on Parent Effectiveness Training that I took through Luke's elementary school. The course and instructor were excellent - I wish everyone who read the book could have had the same class that I did. However, by just reading the book I think it's possible to improve your relationship with your children and help them to grow up to be the thinking, responsible people that you want them to be. And the relationship concepts Dr ...more
Kate Hyde
Sep 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
This may very well be the best parenting book I've ever read. The author provides fantastic advice on how to deal with people - not just your children, but everyone. The author is a strong advocate of using "I-Messages" (ex. "I feel _______ when _________, because _________."), which I think is a great way of communicating with anyone.

I highly recommend this book to any parent, or any person for that matter!
Jan 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
I can highly recommend this book for anyone with kids... it gives a third way instead of the authoritarian or permissive parenting.. takes the win lose feeling out of parenting. Already I feel and see a difference in my parenting and behavior of my son and resolving interactions with other kids!
Spirited Stardust
Mar 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book isn't just for helping communication between you and your children, this book also helped me communicate and compromise better with my husband, stopped a lot of arguments in their tracks. Can't speak highly enough of it.
Sep 07, 2019 rated it liked it
"Parent Effectiveness Training" is possibly the worst title of a parenting book that I've ever seen. It sounds beyond dry and boring. However, it did have some pretty interesting ideas.

My favorite parts of the book are the three main skills that it teaches: 1) active listening; 2) "I" messages; and 3) no-lose conflict resolution. I think there is a LOT of good info here, for how to parent in a way that has firm personal boundaries (it's not permissive or saying parents don't have needs), but al
Randall Wallace
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Of the parenting books out there, I should have read this amazing P.E.T. book first because it provides the backbone for parenting to which anyone could easily attach the other books (Adele Faber, Dr. Haim G. Ginott, Piaget and Alfie Kohn) that I had already read. PET works with today’s teens by leveling the teen/parent field, removing any armor and creating a mutual respect and awareness from which both parties win. And it’s compatible with Faber, Ginott, Piaget, and Kohn, so let’s go. Three co ...more
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent common sense advice which, though I hope I’m not too bad a parent, I still wish I’d read years ago.
Essentially it’s about letting your children have their own lives, becoming who they were meant to become, and not directing or over-helping because you think you know better.
And the importance of listening. The older I get, the more I think listening is a super power and a JedI skill all in one.
Mar 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting, five-star
This is the best parenting book I've ever read. No, strike that. This is the best people's relationship book I've read. I was already a proponent of the philosophy behind the method presented here, namely, avoiding coercion and focusing on solving problems in my relationship with other people. However, when it came to parenting I frequently found myself powerless, confused, and sometimes just utterly helpless in creating such a relationship with my kids. This book cleared a lot of confusing situ ...more
Gloria Denoon
May 18, 2014 rated it liked it
A good solid parenting book. Though written 40 years ago, the issues raised in the book remain critical today.

It has an experiential approach and does not provide much explanations to the "whys" or scientific support -as many current parenting books offer. For instance, it mentions Active Listening. This reminds me the book, The Whole Brain Child -where the author Daniel Siegel and Tina Bryson explain the reason why you listen open-mindly and validate your children's feelings is to connect your
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
I cannot in good conscience recommend this book to anybody in my real-life social circle. Because every true thing it says and every good piece of advice is packaged in a way that would make it unpalatable for pretty much everybody I know. I not only agree with the vast majority of what PET teaches, but I also already do most of what PET teaches, and even I hated the tone. I rolled my eyes so hard it's a wonder I didn't sprain something.

So, no, I do not recommend this book. If you're going to re
Feb 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting, 2013
The power of language of acceptance
"His acceptance of the other,as he is,is an important factor in fostering a relationship in which the other person can grow,develop,make constructive changes,learn to solve problems,move in the direction of psychological health,become more productive and creative, and actualize his fullest potential.

"In active listening,the receiver tries to understand what it is the sender is feeling or what his message means.Then he puts his understanding into his own w
Sep 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
Since before Lily was born I've been reading parenting books almost ad-nauseum. Perhaps it is because I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing, and well, I usually like to know what I am doing. Of all of the parenting books I've read, this is by far my favorite. The premise is actually rather simple, but it kind of blew my mind. The basic idea behind Gordon's method is that using power to control your kids works while they are young and depend on you for pretty much everything. However, as they ...more
Sharon Allen
Feb 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book dovetails very well with the ideas proposed by Magda Gerber and formalized in Resources for Infant Educators (RIE). Dr. Gordon works though methods of communication to create and authoritative household. As I read, the one thing that stands out is that Dr. Gordon has essentially created a collaborative problem-solving strategy that facilitates mentalizing such that children will (as concepts develop) likely be able to anticipate the impact that they have on others, and parents will imp ...more
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Raising kids, this book tells us, is the hardest job in the world, and as a dad of 8.5 years, I was hard-pressed not to shout, Hallelujah brother Gordon! This book is an invaluable guide to communicating with your children, giving clear and practical tips and advice on listening to them, giving them the space and respect to deal with their own problems in their own way, effectively communicating that you want them to do something in your interest, and reaching compromise without anyone feeling t ...more
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
This book has already begun changing the way I talk to my three-year-old daughter when I'm frustrated, and I already see a change even if at first it seems like these concepts are for an older child. I think a strong-willed child will take a lot more work, but so far it feels as if this book could work for anyone who is willing to put in the time. Even though my daughter and I have what I would have described as a good relationship, this book has shown me that we have even more room to improve. ...more
Lee Anne
Apr 28, 2011 rated it liked it
First, a warning: There is a lot of fear-mongering in this book. It's very easy to get the impression that, if you don't interact with your children in the right way, they will wind up dead/pregnant/on drugs/hating you, or at best, indifferent.

That said, the ideas and concepts outlined in this book seem sensible and reasonable. It all hinges on active listening, determining who owns the problem, and working together to brainstorm solutions on which everyone can agree. In that way, the child isn
Jun 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
So much love for this book. It is clear, straightforward, and presents a logical framework for identifying which communication methods are most appropriate for different situations with children. Dr. Gordon systematically breaks down everything you think you know about parenting and instead provides tools with proven effectiveness that promote strong, healthy parent-child relationships. At the core of P.E.T.'s ideas is the notion that a child is a person, which does not sound that revolutionary ...more
Nov 23, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: professionallit
If you've taken a couple of parenting classes, you're probably familiar with the philosophy of this book. It did go into more depth than the parenting classes I've taken have, and it served as a good review of these concepts, but didn't really teach me anything new. I was more inspired by "Liberated Parents Liberated Children," although I also read that at a different stage of my life/parenting/parenting class experience, so that might also be a factor.

It also raised some questions for me about
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids
Absolutely fantastic, revolutionized my parenting. Shocking this book is written in 1970, and I have not heard of the content before. Probably that is because it teaches communication skill that helps clarify the needs of both parent and kids and puts the kids in a relation to the parent as an equal instead of as an Me above Kid/You relationship. Such a relationship does not ring well with how most of us have been taught by authoritative parents. If you have kids, and you find yourself to be OK ...more
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Thomas Gordon was an American clinical psychologist, student and later colleague of Carl Rogers. He was mainly known for his Gordon Method, primarily a method to improve relationships between parents and children that was later developed into a general communication method to improve all relationships.

Dr. Gordon spent more than 50 years teaching parents, teachers and leaders the model he developed

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