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Choose your tone wisely

Tags: manner tone voice

Pooja Bedi

You can say the words “I love you” in so many different ways. You can say it with passion, with tenderness, with aggression, in a condescending Manner, in a matter of fact manner, an irritated manner, a weary manner or in a resigned manner. Try each of the above and you will know that it’s never what’s said, it’s how you say it that makes the difference in how it is perceived, felt and received. Even when it comes to a moment of authority, perhaps either with children or staff I’ve noticed how people tend to raise their voices and shout. It inevitably results in a shouting match and a “let’s see who can shout louder” scenario which is hugely unproductive because the focus is on decibel level and not content. The purpose of verbal communication is to put your point across. Raising your voice indicates a desire to express superiority and control. It does not however make you right. It makes people feel small, bullied and helpless and leads to ego battles. If, on the other hand, you stated your point in a very firm, calm no nonsense manner it may still be challenged but it lends to a discussion, which is far more productive than a fight. In fights there is disagreement, a winner and a loser. In a discussion, there is a resolution, or to agree to disagree. Tone of voice is also so important when trying to calm a person. Funnily, I’ve noticed people saying “let it go”, “get over it”, “calm down”, in high pitched tones, or even in an irritated manner. If you want someone to calm down you have to first be calm yourself. Your words are useless unless your tone of voice has a calming effect. In the beginning, because one is so used to reacting and speaking a way, to initiate a new tone of voice in response to same situations could initially feel a bit fake. However, once you start seeing the power of how it impacts a moment, you will realize how simple voice modulation also impacts you.

  1. I am 35-year-old woman and my mother is 57. I am her only child. As a mother, I feel she should never say no to me, especially when I ask her to help me. However, whenever she says no, I find it very hard to take. What should I do?

If we said yes to everything our kids wanted, we would be financially broke and our kids would have no concept of boundaries. 5 year olds expect candy from parents and if not given it start to cry and feel bad. It’s strange that being at a mature stage in your life that you would still want her to dance to your tunes. Asking for help is not a bad thing however, if she is unable to do so, allow her to explain why without you making it an emotional or ego filled debate. If you want her help make her want to give it. And that will only happen when she feels respected, not bullied.

  1. With a 15 year age gap between my husband and I, I feel our thoughts don’t match. We don’t want the same things from our partner and our marriage but we both want the marriage to work out, especially because we have a child. What is the solution to this?

You both can simply agree to disagree. You’re both clear on making it work for the sake of the child, so put your thinking hats on as to what are the areas of commonality and build on those. It’s perfectly fine to lead individual lives and you both will have to make peace with it, but make sure there are specific areas of sharing and caring so that your child sees a happy, peaceful environment and not something that is dysfunctional.

  1. My son has become a juvenile delinquent, returns home late and is even drinking. He is 17. His results also suffer. Being strict has not helped and my husband and I are not like friends with him. Should we try and be friends with him and take another approach?

Teenage years are incredibly testing for parents and emotionally volatile for kids seeking to form their own identity. Kids need parents to neither be a friend or a dictator. They need to feel loved and respected and to know that there is someone they can lean on. Ask him what he feels are top 5 issues and how things can be made better and as he speaks, write them out. Even if what he suggests is distressing or inconvenient, don’t react; tell him you will think about it for a week. After a week, list out your top 5 issues and put those forward to him. Tell him that since you live together as family, there has to be middle ground to be found and ask him to view both lists objectively for a week. Agree on solving one issue each a week with a positive attitude and you will see how the spirit of cooperation changes things.

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

via TOI Blog

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