Yelling at your teen can backfire, study says
(Relaxnews) If you’re a parent of a teenager, researchers say that the best parenting advice is to talk, not yell.
A new study released Wednesday finds that 13-year-old adolescents whose parents shouted at them suffered more symptoms of depression than their peers whose parents didn’t. The study involved nearly 1,000 two-parent families living in the US and is published online in the journal Child Development.
"This is one of the first studies to indicate that parents' harsh verbal discipline is damaging to the developing adolescent," said lead researcher Ming-Te Wang, an assistant professor of psychology in education at the University of Pittsburgh. "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."
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Michigan looked at the consequences of yelling at, swearing at, or insulting children. Even if most parents would never dream of wanting to hurt their children, this kind of conduct in not unusual, the researchers said. Ninety percent of American parents have acknowledged shouting at children of all ages at least once, and half have admitted to swearing at their teenagers or calling them names, according to prior research.
In this study, teens and parents completed surveys over a two-year period on topics related to their mental health, childrearing practices, the quality of the parent-child relationship, and general demographics. Parents were asked questions such as "In the past year, after your child has disobeyed you or done something wrong, how often have you: a) shouted, yelled, or screamed at the child, b) swore or cursed at the child, and c) called the child dumb or lazy or some other name like that?" Items were rated on a 5-point scale, ranging from 1 (never) to 5 (always).
The best approach to disciplining teens? Take a breather if you feel a surge of anger or worry, and Wang suggests talking to your teens about the consequences of misbehaving, rather than yelling.