What Parents Say After Taking the Class
One participant helps her daughter gain insight and emotional release
P.E.T. participant mother lay down with her 8 year old daughter to put her to sleep. This usually takes a long time and she was checking emails on her phone. She had just had her first session on Active Listening that day (Session 2).
The Active Listen:
Daughter: "Pen tips don’t have poison in them, do they?”
Mother: (realizing Whoa, maybe this is a chance to try this new skill out! quickly turned her whole body [attending]) “Something’s bothering you about pens.” (Normally she would have said “Of course they don’t!” and gone back to her emails.)
Daughter: “Molly said today that pen tips are poisonous so I shouldn’t draw on my hand!”
Mother: "That really upset you!"
Daughter: (tearing up) “Yes! If there was poison in the tips of pens why would so many kids draw on their hands!?”
Mother: "You feel annoyed that Molly would say such a thing!"
Daughter: “And then Sally agreed with her!!” (Sally is her daughter’s best friend.)
Mother: “Oh, that was hard because then it was two against one.”
Daughter: “Molly always tries to say things to make me mad and get Sally to be on her side.”
Mother: “That’s hard for you and can feel lonely.”
Daughter: "Actually, you know, I think Molly is jealous of me because I’m best friends with Sally. But we ARE best friends, and we’re both Korean and you and her mom are friends so Molly can’t change all that!” [energy shift, insight]
Mother: "You believe even though Molly envies your friendship with Sally, your friendship is strong and so you don’t really have to worry!"
Daughter: “You know, I think it’s because Molly’s mom is always so concerned about hygiene. She must have told Molly that about the pens.”
Daughter: “Let’s go to sleep!” [emotional release]
Mother reported delight & shock that her Active Listening had worked!!
Catherine's 13 year old son puts the skills into action!
I was away helping my ill mother and my husband was on a business trip. Our wonderful helper was holding down the fort for our children, then 15, 13 and 10. Xavier (13) stayed home from school one day with a slightly infected eye (which was diagnosed by my doctor brother over FaceTime who advised hot compresses and said it was not necessary to visit the pediatrician).
The next day Xavier decided his eye still hurt too much to go to school. Our helper felt frustrated and stressed. She sent him to his room for a nap; he instead went to our study and that's where she found him later -- in front of the computer.
The Active Listen:
Helper: “Xavier, I told you to go to sleep if your eye really hurts! Maybe it doesn’t really hurt and I don’t have time anyway to take you to the doctor! Mom is coming home tonight and I have to make dinner and this recipe is very hard. I also have to pick up your sister!!”
Xavier: “You seem really frustrated because you have so much to do and me being home is a surprise.”
Helper: “Yes, it’s just too much! You were about to go to school and then you didn’t. It’s just too much!”
Xavier: “Yeah, it’s a lot of stress for you.”
The Confrontive I-Message: (after sensing Helper's emotional temperature drop)
Xavier: “But when you say that I am faking my eye hurting, I feel really annoyed because I feel judged.”
Helper: “Sorry, Xavier!”
Xavier was so excited to tell me this story the night I returned. According to him, “It really feels good to Active Listen someone and have it work. And then I gave her an I-Message and she apologized, Mom!” Our help later told me that the Active Listening had “felt good” and she was feeling so loving and open toward him that she then bought him a treat for lunch - a steak!