Saturday, February 16, 2013

'They don't give you a manual' but help is freely available

Image: Lovely illustration of parenting from the blogger known as rightwaysrichard

WHENEVER a touchy topic dominates the dinnertable talk, someone will refer to a lack of much-needed documentation that could solve a problem or two. Nowadays the statement, "They don't give you a manual with one of those", often relates to a mobile phone, and manufacturers are condemned for their failure to give their customers adequate trouble-shooting tools. However, another "product" is traditionally associated with the lack of a manual, and that of course is the child. Parents generally still face up to their duties in bringing up their children with the belief that simply because the hospital didn't supply a little booklet they must navigate through the problems, all by themselves. In fact, handy tools to develop parenting skills have long been freely available, and one has featured recently in our Training and Tuition column.
SHELDON mother-of-four Diane Rooker is offering parenting courses using the respected Parent Effectiveness Training (PET) guidelines that US psychologist Dr Thomas Gordon developed more than 50 years ago. The parenting component is just one aspect of psychological theory that Dr Gordon based on effective communication. Melbourne-born Diane, her South-African-born husband Robert and their children, now aged between 11 and 20, have been Redlanders for about the past decade. She studied at The Awakening Group in Brisbane to qualify as a counsellor and followed up elements of the course to delve deeper into Dr Gordon's much-celebrated systems. "It's all about active listening and building emotional intelligence, showing children how to find solutions themselves and develop skills that can set them up for life," says Diane. "As parents we may feel we need to tell them everything when we really need to listen and allow them to speak more. "There's no yelling in the house anymore. It does come back to the values of the parent, working out who has the problem and whose needs are not being met.
"PARENTS need to work out what their values are and whether they may be in fact those of their great-grandparents and ask if they really want those same values for their child." Diane's agency name is Pearl Counselling. Her notice offers to teach parents to speak to their child so they will listen; understand their child; resolve conflict so no one loses; and help the child become emotionally intelligent. Active and empathetic listening and strategies to cope with stress are also on the list.
THE theories of Dr Gordon have benefited thousands around the world but, sorry, there's no system for the mobile phone user without the manual.

This column has appeared in The Redland Times

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