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Parenting Sytles: No More Yelling

From the moment our children are born, we use our voices to communicate. Long before they understand actual word meanings, kids garner meaning from a parent's tone of voice. This ability to extract meaning from tone remains with us the rest of our lives. We communicate with infants using a soft voice and a soothing tone. Conversely, we may communicate anger with an older child by using a loud voice and a displeased tone. Tone of voice is a form of language that relies on perceived meaning rather than literal meaning, and it is an important teaching tool for kids.

Use Positive Parenting Styles Instead of Yelling

How many times have you "yelled" at your preschooler or kindergartner though grated teeth and with a hissing voice? We've all done it. We expect our kids to react to the tone of our voice and how we present the words (inflection) more than any other factor. Parents generally use this tactic in public when raising their voice may be inappropriate. Tone of voice and other non-verbal language cues are important parts of effective communication. Parents far too often rely on tone of voice to convey anger or disappointment.

But, it is also important when communicating with your child about other emotions as well. Mirror your child's emotions with your own voice to teach empathy and understanding. If your child seems sad after an argument with a friend, put on a serious face and use a serious voice and encourage her to discuss the situation with you. If your child is excited about something she made at school, mirror her excitement with your tone of voice and facial expressions. Use the tone of your voice to express to your child that you understand, acknowledge, and connect with her feelings. Think about what it would be like to interact with someone who speaks in a monotone with no facial expression.

It would be difficult and confusion to understand the meaning behind the words. Your interactions with your child work the same way. Your words hold a great deal of meaning, but it is often the tone and inflection that accompany those words that convey the most meaning to your child.