Kathryn Tonges has been a beacon through the past year, the biggest growth period of my life.
Kathryn as P.E.T. Instructor and Master Trainer:
I have three children – 16, 13 and 10. In the fall of 2011, things got really desperate with my very autonomous middle child that I just HAD to reach out. I took a parenting course in Hong Kong that exposed me to some of the concepts of Thomas Gordon’s brilliant communication paradigm. That was the beginning of a sea change. I resat the course in a weekend intensive with my husband, and embarked on a reading program to find out just why I was so triggered by many of my kids’ behaviors.
Things got somewhat better and I decided that I wanted to teach these practical and transformative communication skills myself. I met Kathryn for the first time at her instructor training in the spring of 2013. That was one of the happiest weeks of my life. I got to immerse myself in the Gordon P.E.T. model and under the tutelage of someone with over 30 years of experience! I watched as Kathryn compassionately and clearly corrected us and deepened our understanding. She cracked jokes, shared personal stories, assertively managed time and participants’ issues and was about as genuine as it gets.
That course with Kathryn jumpstarted my P.E.T. skills in a major way and my family became a lot more peaceful.
Kathryn as Personal Coach:
Yet there were lingering parenting issues that were very painful and confusing. It’s then that I signed up for Kathryn’s personal coaching sessions. Being able to talk at length about my problems with my middle child and to draw on her skills and wisdom helped move me out of my stuck place. This was because, true to P.E.T. form, she didn’t solve my problems for me — she Active Listened me and helped me to problem-solve. Then she would consult and share her considerable knowledge. My growth was organic.
Things in our family really took off as I repaired my relationship with my middle son and shared strategies with him that I had learned from Kathryn and books she recommended. I signed up for a mindfulness course and that helped too. Less than a year after meeting Kathryn, I had a very big No Problem zone! So this past spring, my sessions with Kathryn were largely professional indulgences — I had a course with parents of very young children and babies and I wanted to bounce ideas off her and soak up knowledge.
But during my last session, I needed something more. The funny thing is, I didn’t know it; I thought I had resolved my own problem the night before, after waking up around midnight to journal about it. Yet, when I heard Kathryn’s warm voice over Skype ask me, “So, how are you Catherine?” I burst out with the story. She deepened my exploration and supported me through another challenge. Gaining clarity with her by my side is something I will always be grateful for.
Catherine Banson has degrees in social work and law. Now she is a certified P.E.T. Instructor in Hong Kong. Her successful ‘P.E.T. Vitamin’ blog posts help parents to implement parenting skills.