About P.E.T

Parent Effectiveness Training was devised in 1962 by Dr Thomas Gordon, and is thought to have been the first parenting course ever taught.  The principles of P.E.T. are relationship based, from Dr Gordon's Theory of Healthy Relationships.

For a summary of the skills and philosophy taught in P.E.T, see our blog, P.E.T. on a Page.

The approach and skills taught in P.E.T. are now recognised and supported by research.  How the evidence of today supports the wisdom of yesterday!

The parenting stance taken in P.E.T. differs markedly from that of behavioural parenting courses.  The emphasis in P.E.T. is to improve relationships, and help children develop self-discipline where there is no use of reward or punishment.  In contrast, behavioural courses rely on reward and punishment to control child behaviour (a form of external discipline).

This free resource illustrates many of the PET principles, and here's what you will learn in a PET course.

Further information on P.E.T., and a comparison of Parent Effectiveness Training with other parenting programs can be found at the Gordon Training website.

Information on the Australian not-for-profit organisation responsible for overseeing the teaching of P.E.T. can be found on www.etia.org.

Bill Gates Snr and his wife completed a Parent Effectiveness Training course, and father and son explore their relationship and some of the effects of the course here.


  • To build and maintain strong relationships between parents, carers, and children through mutually respectful communication.
  • To help children and parents develop emotional intelligence, empathy, inner discipline and resilience.
  • To enhance family life by reducing conflict through the use of no-lose conflict resolution skills.


  • An introduction to the P.E.T. concepts and model, including problem ownership;
  • Active listening skills;
  •  Roadblocks to helping;
  • Assertiveness, including effective self-disclosure when the parent or carer is unhappy;
  • Alternatives to praise, rewards and punishment for children;
  • Managing resistance from children;
  • Conflict resolution techniques;
  • Problem solving skills; and
  • Resolution of conflicting values.

Program Structure

  • 8 x 3-hour small group sessions, conducted weekly.

Methods of Delivery

Utilising the principles of group work and adult education, P.E.T. sessions may include:

  • theory (covering the P.E.T. model and skills);
  • exercises from work book in class;
  • discussion, sharing and processing of learning;
  • role play (an essential element for practical skill acquisition during this program);
  • video/you-tube clips via PowerPoint; and
  • audio recordings of parent/child interaction.