Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.)

Scientific Rating:
3
Promising Research Evidence
See scale of 1-5
Child Welfare System Relevance Level:
Medium
See descriptions of 3 levels

About This Program

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) has been rated by the CEBC in the area of: Parent Training Programs that Address Behavior Problems in Children and Adolescents.

Target Population: Parents of children ages 0 to 18 with communication and behavior problems

For children/adolescents ages: 0 – 18

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 0 – 18

Brief Description

P.E.T.'s purpose is to offer parents a set of skills for developing and maintaining effective relationships with their children and others. Parents learn listening skills to help their children when they have problems, self-disclosure skills to help themselves when their children cause problems for them, and skills to resolve conflicts and problems so that both the parent and the child gets their needs met. Class time is devoted to learning the concepts through short lectures, roleplaying, practice in small groups and workbook exercises. Each parent receives a set of standardized participant materials which includes a copy of Dr. Thomas Gordon’s Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) book.

Program Goals:

The goals of Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) are:

  • Determine who “owns the problem” in a given situation
  • Identify the 12 Roadblocks to Communication
  • Distinguish between Roadblocks and Active Listening
  • Avoid the Roadblocks that cause most helping attempts to fail
  • Recognize when their child needs their help as a skilled listener
  • Use silence, acknowledgments, and door-openers to help their child with a problem
  • Actively listen to hear their child’s feelings
  • Actively listen to clarify information
  • Distinguish between Acceptable and Unacceptable Behavior
  • Determine what to do when a child’s behavior is interfering with the parent’s meeting their needs

Essential Components

The essential components of Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) include:

  • Six key skills will be learned:
    • Identification of Problem Ownership to understand and manage problems
    • Active Listening to enable their children and others to solve their own problems
    • I-Messages to confront others' unacceptable behavior resulting in the other changing his or her behavior
    • Gear Shifting to overcome resistance to change
    • Resolution of conflicts with their children and others so both are satisfied with the solution
    • Values Collision Skills to resolve values collisions with their children and others
  • Balance of instructor presentations, group discussions, individual sharing, and skill-building activities
  • Group-based program and recommends 12-20 parents per group

Child/Adolescent Services

Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

  • Withdrawn or non-communicative, demonstrates anger (e.g., temper tantrums, outbursts), difficulty making or maintaining commitments/rules, difficulty making decisions, difficulty solving conflicts, difficulty expressing needs and emotions, and experiencing sibling rivalry

Parent/Caregiver Services

Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • Use of physical or verbal punishment, power struggles, a need to address recurring problems, inability to modify undesirable behaviors of child, and feeling subservient to the child

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Community Agency
  • Community Daily Living Settings
  • School

Homework

Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) includes a homework component:

Practice of communication and conflict resolution skills learned in class, reading, and writing journal entries

Languages

Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) has materials available in a language other than English:

Spanish

For information on which materials are available in this language, please check on the program's website or contact the program representative (contact information is listed at the bottom of this page).

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

A/V and Flip Charts (2), chairs for each participant and Instructor, enough space to break out into small group exercises (approx. 500 square feet or more for full classes)

Minimum Provider Qualifications

Attendance and successful completion of a 5-day P.E.T. Instructor Training Workshop and successfully teaching one P.E.T. course. A high school education is required.

Education and Training Resources

There is a manual that describes how to implement this program, and there is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training is obtained:

Both on-site and regional are available.

Number of days/hours:

For groups of 1-4 people, the training is 3 full days. For groups of 5 or more people, the training is 5 full days.

Implementation Information

Since Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) is rated on the Scientific Rating Scale, information was requested from the program representative on available pre-implementation assessments, implementation tools, and/or fidelity measures.

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Pre-Implementation Materials

There are no pre-implementation materials to measure organizational or provider readiness for Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.).

Formal Support for Implementation

There is no formal support available for implementation of Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.).

Fidelity Measures

There are no fidelity measures for Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.).

Implementation Guides or Manuals

There are no implementation guides or manuals for Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.).

Research on How to Implement the Program

Research has not been conducted on how to implement Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.).

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

This program is rated a "3 - Promising Research Evidence" on the Scientific Rating Scale based on the published, peer-reviewed research available. The practice must have at least one study utilizing some form of control (e.g., untreated group, placebo group, matched wait list study) establishing the practice's benefit over the placebo, or found it to be comparable to or better than an appropriate comparison practice. Please see the Scientific Rating Scale for more information.

Child Welfare Outcome: Child/Family Well-Being

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A meta-analyses has been conducted on P.E.T.:

  • Cedars, R., & Levant, R. (1990). A meta-analysis of the effects of Parent Effectiveness Training. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 18, 373-384.

When more than 10 research articles have been published in peer-reviewed journals, the CEBC reviews all of the articles as part of the rating process and identifies the 10 most relevant articles, with a focus on randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and controlled studies that have an impact on the rating. The 10 articles chosen for P.E.T. are summarized below:

Mitchell, J., & McManis, D. L. (1977). Effects of PET on authoritarian attitudes toward childrearing in parents and non-parents. Psychological Reports, 41, 215-218.

Type of Study: Nonequivalent control groups design
Number of Participants: 78

Population:

  • Age — 20-43 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 100% White
  • Gender — 100% Female
  • Status — Participants were college students on at least a part-time basis, or volunteers from the fields of education, psychology, nursing, and other mental health areas.

Location/Institution: Not specified

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study examined changes in authoritarian attitude toward child-rearing in women who received standard Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.), those who only read the P.E.T. book, and subjects who did neither intervention. Measures utilized include the Parent Attitude Research Instrument (PARI). Results showed both parents and non-parents receiving P.E.T. expressed significantly less authoritarian attitudes, while in the book-reading group only parents showed a comparable significant change. Parents receiving P.E.T. showed significantly greater changes than non-parents receiving P.E.T.; and non-parents receiving P.E.T. did not change significantly more than parents who only read the P.E.T. book. Limitations include nonrandomization of subjects, and generalizabilty due to socio-economic status and gender.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Therrien, M. E. (1979). Evaluating empathy skill training for parents. Social Work, 24, 417-419.

Type of Study: Nonequivalent control groups design
Number of Participants: 30

Population:

  • Age — Not specified
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — Not specified
  • Status — Participants were parents interested in gaining empathy through the Parent Effectiveness Training program.

Location/Institution: Not specified

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study evaluates the effectiveness of the Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) program on parental empathy. The measure utilized was the Traux Accurate Empathy Scale. Results indicate parents that participated in the P.E.T. program were able to function at higher levels of empathy and that these skills were maintained over a period of time. The results of this study also confirmed previous studies that empathy can be taught in a relatively short period of time. Limitations include nonrandomization of participants and small sample size.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 4 months.

Schultz, C. L., Nystul, M. S., & Law, H. G. (1980). Attitudinal outcomes of theoretical models of parent group education. Journal of Individual Psychology, 36(1), 16-28.

Type of Study: One group pretest-posttest
Number of Participants: 120

Population:

  • Age — 23-50 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 100% White
  • Gender — 100% Female
  • Status — Participants were parents of behaviorally disordered children.

Location/Institution: Not specified

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study evaluated three theoretical models of parent group education: Behavioral Modification, Adlerian Mother Study Group, and Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.), on producing and maintaining maternal attitude change. Measures utilized include the Parent Attitude Research Instrument (PARI), the mothers Q4 form as revised by Schludermann and Schludermann, the Attitude Toward the Freedom of Children Scale (ATFC), and a parental rating of improvement. Results showed significant improvement in liberal attitudes toward the freedom of children after the group experiences as compared to individuals who did not receive any group experience. Limitations include small sample size.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 12 months.

Schultz, C. L., & Nystul, M. S. (1980). Mother-child interaction behavior as an outcome of theoretical models of parent group education. Journal of Individual Psychology, 36(1), 3-15.

Type of Study: Nonequivalent control group design
Number of Participants: 47 mother-child dyads

Population:

  • Age — Children: 4-8 years, Parents: 23-50 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 100% Caucasian
  • Gender — Not specified
  • Status — Participants were children who have behavioral issues.

Location/Institution: University of Tasmania, Australia

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study evaluates the effectiveness of the Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) program. Measures utilized include the PET/YET Analog Scales, the Hereford Parent Attitude Survey, the Self-Esteem Inventory, and the FIRO-B. Results showed significantly greater improvement in conflict resolution skills from pretraining to posttraining in the experimental group compared to the matched control group, for both children and parents. No significant changes were found in the Parent Attitude Survey, the Self- Esteem Inventory, or the FIRO-B. Limitations include nonrandomization of participants and small sample size.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Pinsker, M., & Geoffrey K. (1981). A comparison of PET and behavior modification parent training. Family Relations, 30, 61-88.

Type of Study: Nonequivalent control groups design
Number of Participants: 40

Population:

  • Age — Not specified
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — Not specified
  • Status — Participants were parents of behaviorally disordered children.

Location/Institution: Chesterfield, VA

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
The present study compared the behavior modification program developed by Becker and the communication training program (Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.)) developed by Gordon. Measures utilized include the Problem Checklist, The Tennessee Self-concept Scale, the Behavior Modification Cognitive Scale, the Parent Training Effectiveness Cognitive Scale, and the Moos Family Environment Scale. Results showed a highly significant difference between the experimental group and the control group in the acquisition of cognitive skills in applying P.E.T. Results indicated that the Behavior Modification workshop effectively reduced deviant child behaviors and parental perceptions of problem child behaviors, whereas the P.E.T. group effectively increased positive parental consequations, family cohesion, and decreased family conflict. Both Behavior Modification and P.E.T. groups significantly increased their respective knowledge of the techniques involved. Limitations include nonrandomization of participants and small sample size.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Taylor, P. B., & Swan, R. W. (1982). Parent Effectiveness Training: Adolescents' responses. Psychological Reports, 51, 331-338.

Type of Study: Nonequivalent control groups design
Number of Participants: 30

Population:

  • Age — Not specified
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — Not specified
  • Status — Participants were parents of behaviorally disordered children.

Location/Institution: Not specified

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study measured the outcome of Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) using parents who were trained and a matched control group. The measure utilized was the Parent Effectiveness Training Test. The responses of the trained parents were contrasted with the perceptions of their adolescent children in the use of P.E.T. techniques. Results showed the data did not support the claim that trained parents were any better equipped to use P.E.T. techniques than parents who had no training. The reports of adolescents of parents trained in P.E.T. confirmed that their parents did not use P.E.T. techniques with high frequency in the home. Limitations include nonrandomization and small sample size.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Root, R. W., & Levant, R. F. (1984). An evaluation of parent effectiveness training for rural parents. Journal of Rural Community Psychology, 5(2), 45-54.

Type of Study: Nonequivalent control group design
Number of Participants: 30 adults (who had a total of 41 children)

Population:

  • Age — Experimental Group: Parents of children whose mean age=11.2 years, Controlled Group: Parents of children whose mean age=11.8 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — Not specified
  • Status — Participants were parents of behaviorally disordered children.

Location/Institution: Rural northeastern Vermont

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study examines the changes in attitudes towards childrearing of rural parents taking a Parent Effectiveness Training course. Measures utilized include the Hereford Parent Attitude Survey (HPAS) and the Career Maturity Inventory (CMI). No significant changes were found in the career maturity and grades of children whose parents took the course; however, significant changes in parental attitudes towards childrearing were found. Limitations include nonrandomization and lack of placebo control group.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 6 months.

Wood, C. D., & Davidson, J. A. (1987). PET: An outcome study. Australian Journal of Sex, Marriage and Family, 8(3), 134-141.

Type of Study: Nonequivalent control groups design
Number of Participants: 9

Population:

  • Age — 30-40 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — Not specified
  • Status — Participants were parents of behaviorally disordered children.

Location/Institution: University of Tasmania, Australia

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study evaluates the effectiveness of the Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) program. Measures utilized include the Parent-Child Response Sheet, Parent Attitude Scale, and the Moos Family Environment Scale. Results showed a highly significant difference between the experimental group and the control group in the acquisition of cognitive skills in applying P.E.T. Results also indicated large changes in parents' cognitions about situations closely related to the basic skills of active listening, confrontation, and conflict resolution. No differences in attitude change were found between the P.E.T. and control groups on the Moos Scales or a specially constructed Parent Attitude Scale. Considerable improvement was reported by parents in the P.E.T. group on specific goals identified at the commencement of the course. Limitations include nonrandomization of participants and small sample size.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Wood, C. D., & Davidson, J. A. (1993). Conflict resolution in the family: A PET evaluation study. Australian Psychologist, 28, 100-104.

Type of Study: Nonequivalent control group design
Number of Participants: 24 parent-teenager pairs

Population:

  • Age — Parents: 39-53 years, Adolescents: 13-16 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — Not specified
  • Status — Participants were parent-teenager pairs where the adolescents have behavioral issues.

Location/Institution: University of Tasmania, Australia

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study evaluates the effectiveness of the Parent Effectiveness Training program. Measures utilized include the PET/YET Analog Scales, the Hereford Parent Attitude Survey, the Self-Esteem Inventory, and the FIRO-B. Results showed significantly greater improvement in conflict resolution skills from pretraining to posttraining in the experimental group compared to the matched control group, for both adolescents and parents. No significant changes were found in the Parent Attitude Survey, the Self-Esteem Inventory, or the FIRO-B. Limitations include nonrandomization of participants and small sample size.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Cheung, S. K., & Yau, Y. L. (1996). Parent effectiveness training for Chinese parents: Adaptation and evaluation. Asia Pacific Journal of Social Work, 6(1), 30–42.

Type of Study: One group pretest-posttest
Number of Participants: 80

Population:

  • Age — Not specificed
  • Race/Ethnicity — 100% Chinese
  • Gender — 100% Women
  • Status — Participants were parents of behaviorally disordered children.

Location/Institution: Hong Kong

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
The present study evaluates the effectiveness of a program based on a revised Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) model, (1) in examining if the revised P.E.T. intervention leads to acquisition of the communication skills and the development of parental awareness; (2) to determine if the intervention improves the parent-child relationship over time; and (3) to determine if the improvement in the parent-child relationship is related to the enhancement in parental awareness. Measures utilized include the Parental Empathetic Understanding and Responding Questionnaire (PEURQ), Index of Parental Attitudes (IPA), and the Client Satisfaction Questionnaire. Results showed participant improvement in their abilities to empathize with their children and to “actively listen” to their children, and also showed improvement in their relationship with their children. Limitations include nonrandomization of participants, nonvalidation of scale, generalizability to other ethnic populations and small sample size.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 6 weeks.

References

Davidson, J. & Wood, C. (2004). A conflict resolution model. Theory Into Practice, 43(1), 1-13.

Doherty, W. G., & Ryder, R. G. l. (1980). Parent effectiveness training (P.E.T.): Criticisms and caveats. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 6, 409-419.

Rinn, R. C., & Markle, A. (1977). Parent Effectiveness Training: A review. Psychological Reports, 41, 95-109.

Contact Information

Name: Lance Johnson
Agency/Affiliation: Gordon Training International
Website: www.gordontraining.com/parent-programs/parent-effectiveness-training-p-e-t
Email:
Phone: (858) 481-8121 x300
Fax: (858) 481-8125

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: July 2017

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: June 2015

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: June 2013