Communication is paramount in family relationships

Cathy Matheson.
Cathy Matheson. Craig Warhurst

RESPECT and communication is the key to a strong family relationship, according to Gympie-based Parent Effectiveness Training facilitator Cathy Matheson.

While the Queensland Government looks to introduce further school punishment in the form of weekend detentions, Ms Matheson works on a no punishment, no reward system.

Parents struggling in relationships with their children, or just looking to improve their communication have turned to eight-week PET courses which offer both practical and theoretical learning.

Ms Matheson said the training has been designed around developing parents' communication skills which she says involves active listening, problem ownership and conflict resolution.

She said the training, which caters for parents of children any age, stressed the need for mutual respect between parent and child and the ability for the pair to talk out solutions to problems.

"Children are given a voice through this course," she said.

"There's more to parenting than just controlling your child.

"When you have a relationship based on respect and open and honest communication, then all problems can be solved," she said.

The methods underpinning the training take a few weeks to grasp, but the mum of two boys said the philosophy behind the training changed her life.

She said the training encouraged parents to recognise the values both parent and child "hold dear".

"A child has needs and has the right to be heard and have their needs met, in saying that, a parent has the right to be heard and have their needs met." Ms Matheson trains both PET and Be Your Best Effectiveness Training, a similar program for self-empowerment.

Her next PET course will run in term four, while the Be Your Best course begins in August.


Cathy's tips

  • Think about who owns a problem.
  • Trust a child can make choices for themselves.
  • Recognise that no child is deliberately bad
  • Focus on how "I" feel, instead of placing blame.
Gympie Times

Topics:  family parenting relationships

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