Spare the rod…but is discipline by yelling fine?

Obviously beating kids to discipline them is wrong. But what about just yelling? Is that better or is that not ?

Father yelling at kidMost parents scold their adolescent kids by shouting at them because they do not wish to physically discipline the teenage children. But the harsh language used, whether by shouting, cursing, or using insults, may just be as harmful as beating the child up.

Ming-Te Wang, Assistant professor of psychology in education in the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Education and of psychology in Pitt’s Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences asserts this in his study published in the journal Child Development.

The research paper proves that, rather than controlling the behaviour in adolescents, verbal disciplining can instigate more such behaviour in kids. The research team of Wang and Sarah Kenny discovered that teenagers who had to face harsh verbal discipline exhibited higher levels of depressive symptoms, and were more likely to indulge in vandalism or such antisocial behaviour.

This is the first study to highlight the negative effects even yelling has on adolescent children.

As per the research, these negative effects of verbal discipline were similar to the effects of physical discipline, both being studied for a period of two years.

“From that we can infer that these results will last the same way that the effects of physical discipline do because the immediate-to-two-year effects of verbal discipline were about the same as for physical discipline,” Wang said.


Manoj Khatri
Manoj Khatri is a highly experienced wellbeing consultant. He is also a writer-editor and has written on topics ranging from strategic marketing and business management to art, culture and even philosophy. His more than 1250 published stories—articles, interviews, full-length features—have appeared in some of the leading newspapers and magazines of India. A certified cognitive behavioural therapist, he works as a personal counsellor too. He is the author of What a thought!, a critically acclaimed self-improvement book based on powerful ideas of some of the greatest thought leaders. Manoj runs Complete Wellbeing and believes that "peace begins with me".


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