Understanding COUNTERWILL is basic to the establishment of a wonderful joyous life with children.
I am drawing here on the work of developmental psychologist, Dr. Gordon Neufeld. His book, HOLD ON TO YOUR KIDS, has been the most important to me in my understanding of the developing brain. Before being introduced to his work, I had been teaching PARENT EFFECTIVENESS TRAINING along with supplemental guidance from other authors who supported and added important insights to the
P.E.T.philosophy. Although I had experienced terrific results with being a P.E.T. parent myself and more recently had witnessed how remarkably it can help other parents, I did not know what was going on in a child's brain to make P.E.T. "work" so well..
Learning about the brain's COUNTERWILL response will tell you why you hear or may ask the question: What's wrong with today's kids?
There is nothing wrong with them until the adults in their lives, following the mind-set of Traditional Parenting, try to be good parents while working AGAINST instinct.
There is a pretty good chance any difficulties you have been having with your toddler or a child of any age are the result of your hopeless attempts to fight against your child's inborn drive to keep himself safe from "outside influences."
Although we all have the Counterwill instinct, it is activated most strongly at the two times in our development when we need it the most: in the toddler period and during the teen years. Both are stages in our development when we are working hard to achieve independence.
Here's how Gordon Neufeld explains COUNTERWILL on page 74 of his book, HOLD ON TO YOUR KIDS:
Counterwill is an instinctive, automatic resistance to any sense of being forced. It is triggered whenever a person feels controlled or pressured to do someone else's bidding.
He goes on to describe how Counterwill is tempered by attachment.
A child's ability to cooperate is strengthened in direct proportion to the strength of his Attachment to the person wanting his cooperation. Nature has designed your child's brain to facilitate his cooperation only with adults to whom he is attached. The stronger the Attachment, the greater the cooperation.
Everything Parent Effectiveness Training teaches us is aimed at protecting the attachment and providing direction for our child without activating the COUNTERWILL INSTINCT.
When we can accept the fact of COUNTERWILL as an inborn instinct beyond a child's control, we can come to understand why it is up to us to learn to WORK WITH OUR CHILD AS HIS BRAIN IS DIRECTING HIM TO RESIST AND TO ABANDON OUR HOPELESS EFFORTS TO DEFY NATURE.
Knowing Attachment to be the key to cooperation, we will direct our efforts to strengthening our child's attachment to us in every way we can by treating him with respect, being attentive to his needs, avoiding hurtful words and actions directed at him and, no matter how busy we are, by finding TIME for him.
Dr. Thomas Gordon's Parent Effectiveness Training describes the Communication Roadblocks we must eliminate in order to maintain a strong attachment, avoid breaking our bond and triggering the Counterwill response.
When you have come to understand and appreciate your child's Counterwill, you will bypass stimulating this powerful instinct and find life with your child pleasant, fun and limitlessly enjoyable.