Children: The Challenge
Watch Your Tone of Voice

How long until school starts? No, not in hours, but for those of you who knew, this post is for you. Well, to tell the truth, I don’t know how many hours until school starts, but this post is really for me. It’s just that the summer heat seems to make it all the more timely.

Tone of voice learnings from Children the Challenge

Cheri wrote something a while ago that triggered my memory. And while that story would be beside the point, I remembered having borrowed a copy of “Children: the Challenge” by Rudolph Dreikurs. So I looked, and sure enough, I found it on my shelves, unread and unreturned (gack!). It belongs to a mother I admire greatly, and whose children have turned out to be wonderful people. Thus I particularly enjoyed seeing how she had underlined passages and written in the margins.

Well, now I’ve read it. It is a bit out of date, but still it is a wonderful, worthwhile book. I even enjoyed the fact that it is out of date because I kept reading the little scenarios and thinking to myself, “You couldn’t get away with that nowadays!” or “I think most moms have learned that one by now”. But along with the “I think I’m pretty good at that already” thoughts were plenty of the “I know this, but I really need to work on actually doing it” thoughts.

I thought I’d share just one of those tidbits from the chapter “Watch Your Tone of Voice.” Dreikurs reminds us what we all know, but we often act as if we didn’t. “When we speak to our children they frequently hear more in our tone of voice than in the words we use.” Sometimes this is hard to believe because (particularly as women) so often we actually try to communicate volumes with the tone of our words and it seems like nobody picks up on it. Yet when we get frustrated and the concept of our children as miraculous blessings sent to us from above has been temporarily throw out the window, our new view of them as little devils (I don’t mean in the cute way) comes through to them quite clearly in our tone of voice.

Dreikurs warns us that the way we speak to our children can “indicate our feeling that children are inferior. We speak to them in a manner and with a tone of voice that we would never use with a friend.” During pleasant circumstances, I think I do pretty well with my tone of voice, treating my children as equals, but boy I do have my moments.

“Once we become aware of errors in our tone of voice we are in a position to change. If we speak to our children as friends on equal footing with us, we keep the doors of communication open.” That’s the prize I’m going for. To keep that door of communication open.

Good book. Your mom might have a copy she’d be more than glad to loan you. According to what’s for sale on Amazon, it may be a valuable collectible.

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About Sunny

My name is Sunny, and my husband and I have five "children" ages 19 to 4. I love learning. I have a M.F.A. in Humanities and dream about going back to school some day. I run around doing "mom" stuff, try to put a nutritious dinner on the table for whomever shows up, and I thrive on creative projects when possible. Mostly I strive to just keep up with the mountains and mole hills of day to day life.
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