Do not yell at teens, it is counterproductive – Study

If the findings of a new study are anything to go by, yelling at adolescents to discipline them may do more harm than good.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Michigan, revealed if parents shout to correct the behavior of teens, the latter developed a tendency to become even more undisciplined.

Yelling at children may be as bad as hitting them, indicates the study. Children who are subjected to harsh verbal statements tend to steal, lie, fight and develop other conduct problems.

Research methodology
For the purpose of the study, researchers analyzed 967 two-parent, middle-class families. 50 percent of these study participants were European American, two-fifth were African American while the rest were of other ethnic backgrounds.

The researchers found that 90 percent of parents indulged in verbal discipline with children of all ages. 50 percent of the parents admitted to have used harsh forms of verbal discipline like swearing, cursing and name calling.

Such behavior lowers the children’s inhibitions, fosters anger, and increases belligerence, claims the study.

“It’s a vicious circle,” Ming-Te Wang, a University of Pittsburgh professor and lead author of the study said.

“It’s a tough call for parents because it goes both ways: problem behaviors from children create the desire to give harsh verbal discipline, but that discipline may push adolescents toward those same problem behaviors,” added Wang.

The right approach
The study is of monumental importance as it dispels the notion that children can be directed to the right path by vociferously using harsh words. Instead, the right approach would be to use stern words in a firm manner without yelling at them.

It is a good idea to discuss the issue with the children on an equal level and explain them the worries that occur because of the incorrect behavior. Giving rationale to the teens is any day better than screaming and shouting at them.

The findings of the study find mention in the journal Child Development.

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