It’s the WAY you said it!

My son came downstairs, crying.

“I don’t even know WHY I got punished!”

“Well, what did you say?” I asked.

“I said, ‘Well, that’s ok, your chores are small.'” (That was out of context for me but I know Beth doesn’t give arbitrary punishments.)

So I asked, “Would you like to learn something?”

Words, tone, metamessages

I counseled,

They say that only seven percent of what you communicate is from the words you use. 55 percent is the tone you use. And 33 percent is your mannerisms … were you rolling your eyes, etcetera.

Zachary paused and looked at me.

“But that’s only 95 percent!”

[Pause.] [Smile of appreciation, knowing he got the point.]

“Thanks for correcting my mathematical error, Zachary. It’s 38 percent mannerisms.”


I went upstairs. “Did you hear all of that?” I asked my wife. He said he only said, “‘Well, that’s ok, your chores are small.'”

She smiled, “Yes, he was being rude and I said I would give him an extra chore. He dismissed me by saying, ‘Your chores are small.’ So I said, “OK! Laundry!!”

Seems like a fitting punishment to me.

P.S. As he came downstairs crying, his brother said, “Would you like me to love you?” And we both held Zachary and comforted him. Something in our parenting is working.

Good luck from a fellow dad,

:: Joe Hage is CEO and Founder of medical device marketing firm Medical Marcom ::

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