*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on StudyFinds.
Teenage years are about the time when it becomes infinitely more difficult for parents to convince their kids to do just about anything. Adolescents are usually just discovering their first taste of freedom, and as such it’s typical for the average teen to disregard mom’s or dad’s orders more often. Well, if you’ve been having trouble with the teen in your life, take heed: A new study finds that teens are much less likely to cooperate with a mother’s requests or orders if she has a controlling tone of voice.
While the experimental phase of the study consisted only of mothers, researchers believe their findings also apply to other important authoritative figures in teens’ lives, such as fathers or teachers. Furthermore, the study also concluded that speaking to a teen in an especially pressuring manner results in a range of negative emotions and reduced feelings of closeness in the adolescent.
The study, conducted at Cardiff University in Wales, is the first ever to examine how teenage subjects respond to different tones of voice when receiving instructions from their mother. In all, 1,000 adolescents took part in the experiment; 486 males and 514 females, all 14-15 years old.
“If parents want conversations with their teens to have the most benefit, it’s important to remember to use supportive tones of voice. It’s easy for parents to forget, especially if they are feeling stressed, tired, or pressured themselves,” comments Dr. Netta Weinstein, the study’s lead author, in a release.
Teens were much more likely to respond to requests given in an encouraging manner that emphasized the adolescent’s right to self-expression and personal choice. This tone of voice was classified by researchers as “autonomy-supportive.”
“Adolescents likely feel more cared about and happier, and as a result they try harder at school, when parents and teachers speak in supportive rather than pressuring tones of voice,” Dr. Weinstein continues.
The study is published in the scientific journal Developmental Psychology.