By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer
Ninety percent of parents across the United States admit to yelling at their children at least once, regardless of their child’s age. In addition, half of those parents also confess they call their children names like “lazy” and “dumb.” Parents may think that a child understands why they shout, however, that doesn’t mean the words don’t sting. In fact, according to research from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Michigan, parents who yell make young teenagers depressed and more likely to misbehave.
Some parents yell to get a point across and think their children will understand the anger comes out of love, but according to researchers, it’s damaging. Their study surveyed 967 families with two parents across the US and found that 13-year-olds who were yelled at by their parents were more likely to become depressed. “This is one of the first studies to indicate that parents’ harsh verbal discipline is damaging to the developing adolescent,” said Ming-Te Wang, an assistant professor of psychology in education at the University of Pittsburgh, who led the study. Some symptoms of teenage depression include loss of interest in activities, random crying spells, frustration, and feeling sad for no reason.
In addition to being depressed, the kids who were yelled at were more likely to have behavioral problems such as stealing, lying to parents, and fighting in school! It’s seems like a vicious cycle: parents yell at their kids for disobeying, which causes them to act out more. That, in turn, makes parents shout more! “The notion that harsh discipline is without consequence, once there is a strong parent-child bond – that the adolescent will understand that, ‘They’re doing this because they love me’ – is misguided because parents’ warmth didn’t lessen the effects of harsh verbal discipline.” Where does it all stop?
According to the researchers, the best way to stop the vicious cycle is for parents to talk with their children instead of shouting. Speaking in a normal tone of voice is definitely more appropriate than screaming insults!