Most parents yell at their kids at some point. It often feels like the last option for getting children to pay attention and shape up.
But harsh verbal discipline may backfire. Teenagers act worse if they’re yelled at, a study finds.
Researchers asked parents of 13-year-olds in the Philadelphia area how often in the past year they’d yelled, cursed or called the kid “dumb or lazy or some other word like that” after he or she had done something wrong.
Almost half of the nearly 900 parents said they used harsh verbal punishment — 45 percent of the moms and 42 percent of the fathers.
The parents who used more harsh words when the child was 13 were more likely to see increases in their teenager’s conduct problems when asked again a year later. And the children who faced high levels of harsh verbal discipline were more likely to have symptoms of depression at age 14.
“No matter how much you shout, your teenagers don’t listen,” says Ming Te-Wang, an assistant professor of psychology and education at the University of Pittsburgh, and lead author of the study. “It makes things worse and worse, and makes the relationships more tense.”
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