P.E.T. rocks and so does Kathryn!
I have two boys aged 8 and 10 here in Beijing. Their mom is Chinese and I am American, from Boston. I’ve been in China for 18 years so the boys were born and raised here. I’ve found, unsurprisingly, that there are differing parenting styles across cultures and, to add to the challenge, their mom and I divorced when the boys were 6 and 8. After our split we stayed amicable and committed to being the best parents we could be. I’m also a serial entrepreneur and very much value the benefit of coaching which I actively seek out from industry mentors and also try to provide mentoring and coaching services to other younger entrepreneurs. All I know is that the top athletes in the world all have coaches so I am of the belief that we all can improve with the proper guidance and who doesn’t want to be the best parent they can be? So, about a year after our divorce, we both took the very highly recommended P.E.T. course here in Beijing taught by Kathryn Tonges.
In terms of impact, while the term “life changing” is often used inappropriately, I think it’s certainly the best term to reflect the result of the course on all four of our lives. If I had to describe the take away of the course in also just two words, I would say “appropriate response”. Those two words neatly sum up the valuable and practical habits that we learned as parents through P.E.T. By “appropriate response” what I mean is not to rely on scripts given to us by our parents who in turn were given similar scripts from their parents and so on, but to rethink all the scripts we usually mindlessly and often needlessly recite to our children with whom we should be the *most* thoughtful and mindful in interacting.
The concept of appropriate response and simply pausing and reflecting, even for a second, each time before we interact with our children is itself so powerful because it shocks us out of the reactionary and overly emotional responses that can so often take us to places we just don’t want to go.
Simply using tools such as actively listening as taught through P.E.T. has had immediate and long-lasting and powerful impact on the way we now communicate. Kathryn’s course also helped us to focus on the boys’ true needs while also clearly conveying our own leading to much less unnecessary conflict. We also learned how and when to best problem solve with our children to get a win-win outcome. The result is that the boys are much more open and willing to share and so we now have much more meaningful, loving conversations.
P.E.T. affected real changes both in ourselves as parents and in the kids’ behaviors and we now have a solid model for communication which has closed the gap between our cross-cultural parenting styles, allowed us to get on the same page even though we don’t live together and created a loving environment under which the boys can thrive. P.E.T. was truly life changing and we’ll be forever grateful to Kathryn for the powerful tools and appropriate responses we learned from her!
American serial entrepreneur in Beijing, China