TEENAGERS UNLIKELY TO RESPOND TO MOTHER’S REQUEST IF MADE IN CONTROLLING TONE

Love and closeness could possibly be one of the best ways to get teenagers to listen as a new study has found that mothers who use controlling tone of voice to request things aren’t going to be heard to.

Researchers have said that when a mother speaks to her son or daughter, teenagers are less likely to put an efforts into their mother’s requests. However, when the same request is made with love and closeness, such a request is heeded to by the same teenager. Speaking to a son or daughter in a pressurising tone is also accompanied by a range of negative emotions and less feelings of closeness, a new study has discovered.

For the study researchers examined as many as 1000 adolescents to understand how they respond to the tone of voice when receiving instructions from their mothers, even when the specific words that are used are exactly the same. The study showed that subjects were much more likely to engage with instructions that conveyed a sense of encouragement and support for self-expression and choice. The results, whilst of obvious interest to parents, could also be of relevance to schoolteachers whose use of more motivational language could impact the learning and well-being of students in their classrooms.

In the experiment each of the subjects was randomly assigned to groups that would hear identical messages delivered by mothers of adolescents in either a controlling, autonomy-supportive, or neutral tone of voice. Expressions of control impose pressure and attempt to coerce or push listeners to action. In contrast, those that express ‘autonomy support’ convey a sense of encouragement and support for listeners’ sense of choice and opportunity for self-expression.

Each of the mothers delivered 30 sentences that centred around school work, and included instructions such as: “It’s time now to go to school”, “you will read this book tonight”, and “you will do well on this assignment”.

After the delivery of the messages, each student undertook a survey and answered questions about how they would feel if their own mother had spoken to them in that particular way.

The findings showed that the tone of voice used by mothers can impact significantly on teenagers’ emotional, relational, and behavioural intention responses.