Voice Tone: How Do You Sound? | Teaching Self-Government

Voice Tone: How Do You Sound?

Father correcting son

Dear Nicholeen,

"I attended your seminar in Bountiful. I certainly had many other choices about how to use that time and I am very glad that I chose to come. I glanced at your blog the day before and because of that I took the time to speak with and hug my upset daughter before leaving, even when I thought I was already running late. I didn't miss a thing and I was so glad that I took time for her.

"I don't know if you have read any of George MacDonald's writings, but I recently re-read one of my favorite stories of his. The title is, "The Wise Woman or The Lost Princess." The Wise Woman teaches a little princess, who has been spoiled rotten, how to govern herself. She explains that she will never be a real princess until she is the princess of herself. The Wise Woman is always firm but gentle and very much has herself under control. After this reading I really felt the need for the Wise Woman to teach me! Saturday afternoon this story came to mind and while watching you I thought — she is a 'Wise Woman.' I appreciate the opportunity to learn from you."

Thank you for your recommendation! This sounds like a great one. George MacDonald writes some great books! Our family loves "The Princess and the Goblin"  and "The Princess and Curdie."

Thank you for mentioning the firm but gentle way of the old woman. That is exactly what I strive to be as a mother; and a little bit silly too.

Voice Tone

When I praise my children, I use a happy, energetic voice. When I correct my children, I use a soft, loving, but firm voice. When I give instructions, I also focus on being loving, but firm. 

I've noticed the way I see myself is exactly how my children will see me too. If I'm feeling emotionally out of control, then my children will see me as out of control. If I see myself as stressed, then the children see me as stressed too. By contrast, if I see myself as calm, happy and firm, the children view me the same. We can literally pick how we want people to see us just by choosing to look at ourselves with more proactive eyes. My own voice tone dictates how I will feel and how my child will feel during a teaching moment.

How do you see yourself when you're teaching your children? Stressed? Annoyed? Angry? If you don't like what you see, then you should probably work on changing the view. Then the way others view you will change too.

Voice Tone Tips

When you're talking to your child about a negative behavior or consequence, use a calm, unemotional voice tone. This kind of a voice tone will dismiss any possible power struggles, it will keep you calm in a heated situation. It will show children you're not hurt by their behavior (sometimes youth want bad behavior to hurt their parents). And it will show youth they're the one with the emotions that need controlling. Calm leaders automatically hold the leadership role because they have enough self discipline to be calm.

My voice tone automatically changes when I begin to correct a child. It's a habit now. This voice tone change is crucial to calming down a stressful situation and myself.

Consciously plan how you want to sound when you're correcting or calming down your children, and you will enjoy your teaching interactions with your children much more. I actually look forward to correcting behaviors now that I have my voice under control.