Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: P.E.T. article: Is Danny REALLY afraid to go to sleep?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Australia
    Posts
    8,980

    Default P.E.T. article: Is Danny REALLY afraid to go to sleep?

    Is Danny Really Afraid to Go to Sleep?

    HOW PARENTS MAKE ACTIVE LISTENING WORK

    Here is a chance to watch a parent putting Active Listening to work at home when they are confronted with nitty-gritty problems that mothers and fathers encounter. It is wise not to get so involved in these authentic situations that you forget to take note of the Active Listening this parent is using.

    Danny: The Child Afraid to Go to Sleep

    In handling this situation, this mother, a P.E.T. graduate, used a few of the 12 Communication Roadblocks, but she also relied heavily on Active Listening. The child, age eight, had been having increasing trouble getting to sleep since he was five years old. About eight months before the following dialogue took place, he moved out of a room he had been sharing with two younger brothers. Although eager for a room of his own, Danny found his sleeping problem intensified.

    ****

    MOTHER: It's late. Turn out the light and go to sleep.

    DANNY: I'm not going to sleep.

    MOTHER: You have to, it's late. You'll be tired tomorrow.

    DANNY: I'm not going to sleep.

    MOTHER (harshly): Turn that light off now!

    DANNY (flatly): I'm never going to sleep.

    MOTHER (I feel like strangling him. I'm so tired, I can't stand this tonight...I go into the kitchen, count to ten, decide that I'm going in there and try Active Listening even if it kills me! Entering Danny's room): "C'mon, it's late but I'll sit on your bed for a while and rest my feet before I do the dishes. [She takes the book from him, turns off the lights, closes the door, and sits on the bed beside him, leaning back against the wall.]

    DANNY: Gimme that book! Don't turn off the light. Get out of here. I don't want you in here. I'm not going to sleep. I hate you!

    MOTHER: You're feeling very angry.

    DANNY: Yeah, I hate school, and I'll ever go back, never!

    MOTHER (He loves school.): You're fed up with school.

    DANNY: It's horrible. I'm not good in school. Don't know anything. I should be in second grade. [He's in third.] Math, I don't know it. [He is very good at it.] The teacher must think we're in a high school or something.

    MOTHER: Math's pretty hard for you.

    DANNY: No! It's easy. Just don't feel like doing it.

    MOTHER: Oh.

    DANNY (sudden shift): I like baseball. Much rather play baseball than go to school.

    MOTHER: You really like baseball.

    DANNY: Do you have to go to college? [Oldest brother will soon enter college and there is much family talk about it.]

    MOTHER: No.

    DANNY: How long do yo have to go to school?

    MOTHER: you have to finish high school.

    DANNY: Well, I'm not going to college. Don't have to, right?

    MOTHER: Right.

    DANNY: Good, I'll play baseball.

    MOTHER: Baseball's really fun.

    DANNY: Yeah. [Completely calmed down, talking comfortably, no anger.] Well, good night.

    MOTHER: Good night.

    DANNY: Will you sit up with me some more?

    MOTHER: Uh-huh.

    DANNY (pulls up covers which had been kicked off; carefully covers up Mother's knees and pats them): Comfortable?

    MOTHER: Yes.

    DANNY: You're welcome. [Period of quiet, then Danny starts snorting and sniffing with much exaggerated clearing of throat and nose. Snort, snort, snort. Danny does have slight allergy with stuffy nose, but the symptoms are never acute. Mother has never heard Danny snort like this before.]

    MOTHER: Nose bugging you?

    DANNY: No. [Snort, snort.]

    MOTHER: Nose really bugs you.

    DANNY: Yeah. [snort]. [Sigh of anguish.] Oh, I wish you didn't have to breathe through your nose when you sleep.

    MOTHER (very surprised at this, tempted to ask where that idea came from): You think you have to breathe through your nose when you sleep?

    DANNY: I know I have to.

    MOTHER: You feel sure about it.

    DANNY: I know it. Tommy told me, a long time ago. [Much admired friend, two years older.] he said you have to. You can't breathe through your mouth when you sleep.

    MOTHER: You mean you aren't supposed to?

    DANNY: You just can't [snort]. Mommy, that's right, isn't it? I mean, you gotta breathe through your nose when you sleep, don't you? [Long explanation--many questions from Danny about admired friend. "He wouldn't lie to me."]

    MOTHER: (Explains that friend is probably trying to help but kids get false information sometimes. Much emphasis from Mother that everyone breathes through the mouth when sleeping.)

    DANNY (very relieved): Well, good night.

    MOTHER: Good night. [Danny breathing easily through mouth.]

    DANNY (suddenly): Snort.

    MOTHER: Still scary.

    DANNY: Uh-huh. Mommy, what if I go to sleep breathing through my mouth--and my noise is stuff--and what if in the middle of the night when I'm sound asleep--what if I closed my mouth?

    MOTHER (realized that he has been afraid to go to sleep for years because he is afraid he would choke to death; thinks; "Oh my poor baby"): You're afraid you might choke maybe?

    DANNY: Uh-huh. You gotta breathe. [He couldn't say, "I might die."]

    MOTHER (more explaining): It simply couldn't happen. Your mouth would open--just like your heart pumps blood or eyes blink.

    DANNY: Are you sure?

    MOTHER: Yes, I'm sure.

    DANNY: Well, good night.

    MOTHER: Good night, dear. [Kiss. Danny is asleep in minutes.]

    ****

    The case of Danny is not a unique example of a parent whose Active Listening brought about the dramatic resolution of an emotional problem. Reports like these from parents in our classes confirm our belief that most parents can learn the skill employed by professional counselors well enough to put it to work to help their own children solve rather deep-seated problems that used to be considered the exclusive province of professionals.

    Sometimes this kind of therapeutic listening brings only a cathartic release of a child's feelings; all the child seems to need is an empathic ear or a sounding board.
    Like what you are reading? By learning PET, you can make positive changes and have a more peaceful household - where your children come to you when they have a problem. The PET book is available from the BellyBelly online store HERE.
    Last edited by BellyBelly; December 9th, 2009 at 05:21 AM.
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
    Follow me in 2015 as I go Around The World + Kids!
    Forever grateful to my incredible Mod Team

  2. #2
    paradise lost Guest

    Default

    I must be totally missing the point here - selling a "method" which is basically "listen to your loved ones" seems like money for old rope to me.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Ubiquity
    Posts
    9,922

    Default

    I haven't done much PET because I already do it. A lot of the examples I've read I already apply. And I am sure you're probably the same paradise lost, in fact I know we are very similar with our kids. But I do think for some people who are told to listen to their kids they might not see the listen part the same way we do. It doesn't mean they are stupid and we aren't. Things that come as second nature to me do so because of my life experiences, and my emotional memories that relate to my childhood and how I felt at different times. A lot of people don't have that, so it's hard for them to use examples for them to listen. I know my DH was like that. And he used to get really frustrated with me because he thought it was unfair that I just got it and for him it was like him trying to find something but not knowing exactly what he was looking for. So we've worked on this together, and now he's very much like me. He wasn't crap as a parent he just didn't see things the way I did, the opportunities or the emotional struggles our children went through and that was because of his childhood and his own experiences.

    So whilst it's not something I think I would need, I think PET is something I pretty much already do (not all obviously, as I don't think there is any method that fits a family perfectly) but I think it's a great way to put it people who might not automatically see things this way.

    Oh and FYI I am not Miss Perfect Communication Mother of the Year either. Tonight I think I told DS a few times to go to bed in a not very nice tone. Which isn't very consistent or very PET. I don't have much of an excuse either, and I do feel pretty crap about it. But I did apologise when I realised I was tantruming because I was sick and tired (doesn't make it better but I hoped that it would make him feel that this was less about him!)
    Last edited by Rouge; December 2nd, 2009 at 12:02 AM.

  4. #4
    paradise lost Guest

    Default

    No, i agree, i'm by no means as good a parent as i could (or would like to) be, it's just that when i DO lose it with DD, or speak harshly or lose patience, i know what i SHOULD be doing, it's just as you say sometimes you're sick or tired or annoyed or whatever and it's harder. And DD tends to have patience with my moods just as i have patience for hers - though now you point it out i do know people who are HORRIFIED that i admit when i'm wrong and apologise to her. They say she'll "see it as weakness" - another barking veiwpoint to me i'm afraid.

    I suppose i just find it hard to believe a parent would go 3 YEARS thinking a child who couldn't sleep was being difficult without ever trying to find out why.

    And also, i wonder, if you (the royal you, not a specific you) don't listen to your kids at 3 or 7 or 9 at what point DO you listen to them? Or do they just remain sort of not-real people to you forever? Do you continue to boss them about and disregard them when they are 33 or 45? I don't know why i'm even asking - i can think of DOZENS of people for whom the answer is clearly "yes".

    People are crazy.

  5. #5

    Default

    I would want to see him sleeping soundly for a couple of nights before I was assured the problem had been solved. To me, there seem to be a few issues that he has touched on here and could coincide with when his sleeping difficulties began - like school. He fell asleep after a long conversation with his mum and he may have just relaxed enough to do it. While it does sound like the breathing thing was causing him a lot of distress, he sound anxious about a lot more than just his breathing. He may just be a kid that is a bit anxious about lots of stuff and it comes out at bedtime.

    I don't know, maybe I am missing the point, but he would have fallen asleep eventually that night. I think the evidence would be in knowing what happened on the following few nights.

    ETA: I thought I should add, I don't doubt that the method of therapeutic listening works and I have used it in counselling with kids but I don't think it is a magical solution and I find kids often need to talk through things that are bothering them a few times - sometimes to make sure that they heard right or that it hasn't changed the next day or for a number of other reasons. If a child has such a deep seated belief, it is often far more difficult to break than what is written here. I also think kids tend to be more complex than one issue and Danny is presenting with an ongoing problem that would suggest he is anxious about more than just breathing. It may be beneficial for his parents to consider other methods like a way for him to work through some of his anxiety and a way to help him express it.
    Last edited by Just Me; December 2nd, 2009 at 12:22 AM.

  6. #6
    paradise lost Guest

    Default

    Just Me, i do agree, that the issue is probably more complex than as shown here, BUT i also think that if the alternative was really going to be that the mama took the book away, turned the light off and left the boy in a state of anxiety about "something" then this is definitly better, even if it's just a step towards the ultimate goal.

    Also i agree that most kids, however well-adjusted they are, will need a little more than one opportunity to discuss even small things, let alone something that has been bothering them for literally years. But again, i think the point is to build a relationship where they know they CAN talk and will be heard, not to solve the problem in isolation, because new stuff is always going to crop up anyway.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Australia
    Posts
    8,980

    Default

    Very often, there is an underlying problem like in this example. I have had problems putting rissy to bed and she was having a mighty tantrum... when I listened I found out that she was actually missing her dad, not being stubborn about going to bed. Only by active listening can you find out the real problem and help them solve it so they are happy to go to bed. This works for me everytime. Going to bed is never the problem. Just like many other things our kids tell us, there is always something else underneath that. I also think adults are guilty of this too. We complain or argue with our partners about 'he said, she said' or things like that when really the problem is we feel hurt and sad that our partner was late home from work all week and we miss them. But we mask them as anger or other feelings - and talking helps to get to the bottom of it.
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
    Follow me in 2015 as I go Around The World + Kids!
    Forever grateful to my incredible Mod Team

  8. #8

    Default

    Ok - so this article had me intrigued so I went and read the P.E.T. book and I understand what is going on in this conversation now. I think active listening was something I needed to contextualise in terms of what the parent was actually trying to do.

    I am not entirely sold on every concept in the book, but then I am not a big believer in using only one theory in its entirety either, but I think there are a lot of great strategies used in this book. While I don't think I agree with everything (at this stage) I think it is challenging me and it has already started to change some of my thinking. I am also starting to notice things in people's conversations that I never noticed before.

    I am only up to the bit in the book where they use this conversation between Danny and his mum as an example (and I surprised how much clearer it is to me having read all the stuff that comes before this example) and I am curious about where it is going to go from here.

    Thought I should come back and further respond to my previous comment

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Australia
    Posts
    8,980

    Default

    *bumping* because I think this is a great example of how what we think is the problem, often isn't... and we need to help our children solve their problems by saying the right things.
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
    Follow me in 2015 as I go Around The World + Kids!
    Forever grateful to my incredible Mod Team

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    64

    Default

    Thanks for the different perspective. I try and communicate with my 2.5 yo DD but sometimes miss the mark with types of questions and/or statements. I'm still learning but happy to learn. Thanks for this article

  11. #11

    Default

    I am a HUGE fan of P.E.T and even though DD is only 1yrs old we use it - it helped hubby and I communicate much more effectively as well - we argue A LOT less ever since we learned how to communicate in this manner (i.e no labelling, ordering, threateneing etc).

    It really helps you listen and understand as well as making you feel like you are being heard and understood - no judgement and it facilitates problem solving and solutions that everyone is happy with.

    I have even used my active listening skills with other family members and you would be surprised how well it went - a lot of them ended up solving their own problems and were no longer upset or angry. My sister-in-law even says 'I always feel so much better after talking to you.'


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •