Tape-record your child when he’s using a whiny or grating tone of voice. After he has calmed down, play back the recording. Discuss how he feels when he listens to the recording and how others might respond to the tone of his voice.
What you can say
“Jacob, yesterday you were pretty upset when Sam kept winning in checkers. Sam got really turned off because of the way you began to whine. I decided to tape your conversation with him during the game so you could get a better idea of how your voice sounds sometimes. Let’s listen to it while we have a snack.”
“What do you hear? The words you used were OK, but what about the tone of your voice? Did you like listening to it? Could you have come up with a better way to let Sam know how you were feeling?
“That is so much better, Jacob! I bet if you had spoken that way to Sam yesterday, he would have been much more interested in a rematch.”
Why this will help
Children with learning and attention issues often don’t recognize how their tone of voice impacts other people’s impression of them. By choosing a calm moment to play a recording that captures your child’s off-putting tone, you can help him get a fresh perspective that can lead him to try new strategies.