October 23, 2009

Method III, Part Two

I promised to update on our next couple of conflict resolutions. Both were quickies and we worked on them Tuesday. The first was regarding Robotson's iPod, which he had forgotten to charge and he can not sleep without. When I went to remind him of bedtime at 11p.m., he remembered it was dead and ended up staying up late waiting for it to charge. I was a bit irritated, but held back any sort of lecture. I figured it was better to address it with Method III.

Our needs were pretty obvious:

He needed it to sleep, but it only needs charging every two days.

I needed it to be charged before bedtime.

The solution we came up with:

He suggested charging it on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. I suggested putting it on the charger right after he woke up in the morning. We both thought that would work.

I know it seems rather silly to have to work that one out together, but I think it's the process that matters. I could easily have come up with that solution myself and handed it down from parent to child as a rule, but he would have resented it. This way he was a real part of the process and is more likely to remember what to do. So far, so good. He did charge it tonight before he left for a weekend with Granny and Papa, but he was aware of it's need for a full charge since he'd be away so long. In the past he wouldn't have realized the need.

Chores wasn't as big of a deal as it might seem. I had originally made up the chore schedule and implemented it with very little participation from Robotson. There was the possibility that he would take this opportunity to throw it all out, and renegotiate the entire thing. I had to be willing to let that happen though if I wanted us to trust the system. So we started talking about it. In hindsight, I don't feel like we did as good a job discussing our needs on this one. I think we went right into solutions, which were more like non-solutions, really. Chores isn't so much a conflict. Right now it functions as a task to be done to get a reward. That's not what I ultimately want though. I want him to help out around the house because it's what a family member should do, and because I really do need the help. The reward is computer time, but that doesn't seem right. First of all, I want to stop using rewards and punishments. Secondly, it doesn't work like that for everyone. The girls sometimes get to play a computer game and they do no chores. B and I often use our computers and while we do quite a lot as the adults, there are days when we just lounge around and we still use the computer. I think I need to revisit this one with Robotson and write it up later.

The book makes it perfectly clear, several times, that P.E.T. is something you really need classes for. It's hard enough with support from people who really know how it works, but reading a few books and then trying to implement it is really an uphill battle. I have to say, I fully agree. Unfortunately, I'm probably never going to be in the position to afford the training seminar or even the DVD kit. So until then, I am forcing myself to embrace all of my mistakes with a growth mindset. I just need to pick myself up, and try again. It all seemed to be crashing down today after so much hard work all week, but I think we ended on a positive note. The truth is that Robotson and I have been at each other's throats for several years now. He oscillates between wanting to win and thinking I'm trying to trick him into something. I just want to get along and would consider that a win. It doesn't help that while I keep our Method III resolutions going, all of the other things we haven't worked on yet have me pulling rank. It's got to be confusing. B also, not having read the books, often plays the "because I said so" card.


We learn from our mistakes. Before Robotson left tonight, I told him that I would never give up trying to get it right. And I won't.

By the way, I realize it might seem like I am bending over backwards here and that parents shouldn't have to or want to do that. All I can say is: read the books. If they don't convince you, that's fine. This is the path that we have chosen.


  1. You don't have to explain or defend your child-raising style to anyone. I have a P.E.T. book and find the system very good. I understand your desire to not want to use a rewards system to get your son to do things. The rewards system only teaches them motivation from outside sources. We want our kids (who will one day be adults) to be internally motivated. I still have to give my DH a knock or two when he wants to bribe our DD, who's 13, to do things. It's not cool and she deserves as much space, respect, and freedom as we do. Being adults does not make us lords over our kids. Kids are people, too, who can run their own lives with us as their guide. We can only live as we would want them to live. We can tell them our beliefs and desires for their lives but they still have control over their own lives. I know most people don't get this. Don't let that discourage or detour you. Keep practicing and letting your DS in on your struggles. Keep letting him know that you want to work with him and that ultimately you want to help him through his childhood in a way that will help him get the most out of life and be the best person he can be.

  2. Thank you. Sometimes I feel like I'm talking to walls when I try to explain it to others. It's really nice to know that I'm not alone :)

  3. I found P.E.T to be really helpful. It is hard though sometimes to remember to take the time to actually work through the problems. I easily revert to pulling rank. My husband hasn't read the book either, makes it's hard to be consistent. I keep telling him I'm going to buy the audio book so he can listen in the car or while mowing the lawn, but somehow I never get around to it.

  4. I say the same thing about the audiobook! Really need to just do it because it can only help. I should put it on my iPod and play it while I sleep. Maybe that will help me remember too :)