Expert Parenting Advice
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Why yelling doesn't work (somewhat scientifically proven)

Why it is more important how you say something than what you say, and why your kids will focus on your tone of voice instead of your words.

This morning my 4 year old daughter almost pushed over my computer desk.

I yelled out her name to get her to stop, scaring her. Her eyes started to water, and I immediately felt yellgret - that feeling of regret you feel after yelling or shouting at your kids.

So, I said her name softly, hugging her, and calming her down.

Isn't it strange how my daughter's name can take on completely different meanings depending on my tone of voice, and cause completely different feelings in her?

In fact, there's some science that shows that your tone of voice has a much bigger impact than what you say.

Back in the 1960s, Professor Albert Mehrabian conducted several experiments and developed the 7-38-55 Rule of Personal Communication to prove this.

The rule states that the amount someone will like you depends 7% on what you say, 38% on how you say it, and 55% on your body language and facial expression.

Now, I'm not sure how accurate these percentages are, but reading about this made me think of something that Dr. Chelsey Hauge-Zavaleta said when we interviewed her for our book "How To Get Kids To Listen".

All our kids are hardwired to listen to and respond to parent tone. And so, I always want to encourage parents to really consider the way their tone affects a child’s ability to cooperate. And when you say something to a child with a lot of negative tone they’re not going to cooperate.

Whether you’re thinking about recasting, or you’re thinking about priming your child, or you’re thinking about offering high quality praise to your child, if you have negative tone in your voice, you can break the connection. And most of us have a lot of harsh tone in our voices in the morning.

Taking a minute to take care of ourselves, so that we can meet our children with a super warm, engaged tone is going to help them cooperate. It’s going to help them listen to us. They don’t want to listen to a parent who’s angry and frustrated and drilling out consequences or demands.

Dr. Chelsey Hauge-Zavaleta

The way you say something is critical if you want your kids to listen. If you have a negative tone in your voice, then no matter what you say, your child will hear the negative tone and ignore the rest.

In the full interview with Dr. Chelsey, she also shares what to do instead of threats or consequences to get your child to cooperate, and how to deal with bad behavior without making your child feel bad.

She also explains her "Re-casting" technique for correcting your child's behavior without placing attention on the negative.

You can find the full interview with Dr. Chelsey Hauge-Zavaleta: How to use “Recasting” to correct your child’s behavior in a positive way - here.