Synergistic Parenting

How to do "Experiments"

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Click on "Experiment" to hear a youngster speaking.* The files are in mp3 that most modern computers play. If they do not work, you may need a player program on your computer. You should see something like this on your screen:

Use the "play" or arrow button at left to play the speaking and to re-play it until you understand her clearly.

Experiment with many different ways to respond to the youngster, and compare them to decide which way is the healthiest and most positive response. If you are alone, jot down alternatives to review them. If with others suggest alternatives, discuss them. You may want to use a "talking stick."

Eric Berne found that we respond to one another from three very different ways of being. Sometimes as if child, sometimes as an authority, and sometimes as a rational, mature adult. In responding to the Experiments ask yourself if you respond to the child as an authority or as an adult seeking a rational response.

Equally important for Berne was the way of being with which others respond to our way of being. Our being authoritarian may trigger a stubborn authoritarian child or a compliant child. Our being adult usually invites an adult response—a synergistic response that builds energy and self-understanding.

The important point is that sometimes we respond to our children as authorities while other times as an interested and rational adult. Many parents have found Berne's theory helpful as they try to understand their interactions with children and their children's behavior. For more read his book Games People Play, especially chapters one and two.

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* I wrote these; our daughter edited them then recorded them when she was in her late teens.

Copyright © 2005 John F. Yeaman