A new study finds that yelling at adolescent children is as hurtful as hitting them.
The study by Ming-Te Wang, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh involved 967 two-parent families and their teens over a two year period. Wang determined that 13 year olds who received harsh verbal discipline were prone to symptoms of depression at age 14. They were also more likely to exhibit aggression, misconduct, vandalism and anger.
Wang told USA TODAY, "This may explain why so many parents say that no matter how loud they shout, their teenagers don't listen."
The article also quotes Neil Bernstein, an adolescent psychologist in Washington D.C.. "Extremes of parenting don't work. The put-down parent is no more effective than the laissez-faire parent who is totally chill and sets no limit on their children's behavior."
Bernstein also says hitting teens is not constructive. "Physical intervention, especially with teenagers, is notoriously ineffective, and it's much more likely to precipitate additional problems than it is to lessen whatever problem is going on. Kids are very big on being respected. If we want to respect our kids, we don't want to set the example that we are losing our temper and hitting them."
Instead of yelling or hitting, Bernstein recommends "the big three are good communication, love and limits... If you consistently practice these three, chances are you'll raise a happy, healthy child."