The tone of voice while communicating, particularly with teenagers, can make a big difference in the outcome of any task. This has been pointed out in a recent study in Developmental Psychology in Cardiff University.
Mothers’ autonomy-supportive tone with their teenage children can get positive response while controlling tone can impact negatively, or children are less likely to respond to such tone, highlights the study.
The study, which was conducted among 1000 participants including 486 females and 514 males between the age of 14 and 15 years, points out that there is a need for supportive behavior by parents towards children, instead of demanding behavior.
The teenagers were divided in three groups and recorded messages were analysed. The messages included controlling, autonomy-supportive, or neutral. The messages were centered around “You will read this book tonight” or “It’s time now to go to school”.
The authors observed that children who had heard a controlling tone of voice had a more negative reaction to the instructions. Conversely, those who listened to a mother using an autonomy-supportive tone of voice had positive responses, especially in comparison with those who heard the messages in a neutral tone of voice.
The study concludes that the way speakers modulated their voice when intoning the same verbal messages affected adolescents’ emotional, relational, and behavioral intention responses.
Dr Neeta Weinstein who led the study, said that that adolescents are likely feel more cared about and happier, and as a result, they try harder at school, when parents and teachers speak in supportive rather than pressuring tones of voice.