University of Tasmania

File(s) under permanent embargo

How we talk to our children : an evaluation of parent effectiveness training for the development of emotional competence

posted on 2023-05-26, 09:37 authored by Wood, CD
Converging studies in empathic listening (Ickes, 1997), emotional intelligence (Bar-On 2000,2001) and conflict resolution (Sanson & Bretherton, 2001; Alvy, 1994) point to the importance of parent training for bringing up socially competent children in a world so changed in western countries that traditional parenting practices are less than effective. Both behaviour and the ability to manage emotion can be affected by interactions with the parent in infancy (Fischer & Rose, 1994) childhood and adolescence (Gottman, 1 997). Appropriate assertiveness is an important component of communication skill (Wilson & Gallois, 1993). Conflict resolution skills require a combination of empathic listening, assertiveness and creative problem solving (Littlefield, Love, Peck & Wertheim, 1993). Parent Effectiveness Training (PET, Gordon, 1976) focuses attention on the developnlent of empathic family relationships leading to autonomy and self-responsibility in children through parent training in empathic listening, appropriate assertiveness and conflict resolution. PET reaches over 900 parents annually around Australia, using a newly developed workbook (Wood, 1997) simplified without loss of content as part of this study. The present investigation provides an extensive study of PET in Australia using a three-group comparison (70 standard US workbook, 8 1 Australian workbook and 8 1 controls with no PET) comparing parents' pretest and posttest results with outcome measures following a PET program. Verbal and cognitive skills acquisition was measured using the Parent-Child Response Sheet (PCRS, Wood & Davidson, 1987, 1994/95). Parents' family management concerns were collected through the parent-listed objectives for training and the Issues of Parental Concern (PC, Gordon, 1976; Wood, 1996) including ratings of the stress they felt about each issue on the SUDS scale (Wolpe, 1990) before and after PET. Both PET groups achieved substantially and significantly higher scores than controls on empathic listening, appropriate assertiveness and conflict resolution as measured by the PCRS. Compared with controls the PET parents showed a significantly greater reduction in levels of parental stress about their family concerns. Males scored significantly higher in listening skills using the vernacular version, although there were no statistically significant differences between the workbooks. Extensive qualitative reports indicated that parents had made satisfactory changes in I family management procedures, improved relationships with children and increased levels of family harmony. These findings confirm the conclusions of earlier research, including the meta-analysis of PET studles (Cedar & Levant, 1990), and provide the fnst extensive evaluation of PET implemented at a community level in the light of emerging awareness of emotional intelligence and the need for family development of interpersonal communication skills.


Publication status

  • Unpublished

Rights statement

Copyright the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s)

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Usage metrics

    Thesis collection


    No categories selected


    Ref. manager