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We want what’s best for our kids. It’s why so many parents struggle with parenting choices. And we’re only human, after all.
It’s normal to get frustrated with your children, especially if they are misbehaving. But the way you express this frustration and deal with the situation can have major implications on their personality development and their long-term health.
In fact, harsh parental disciplining measures, like yelling, can have an even bigger impact on kids than previously believed. Read on to learn what clinical studies have found about the long-term effects that yelling can have on kids.
- Yelling makes their behaviour problems get worse You might think that yelling at your kids can solve a problem in the moment or can prevent them from behaving badly in the future. But research shows that it could actually be creating more issues in the long run. Yelling can actually make your child’s behaviour even worse. Which means you have to yell more to try to correct it. And the cycle continues. And if you think it matters which parent is doing the disciplining, it doesn’t, a study found that there is no difference if harsh discipline comes from the father or the mother. The outcome is the same: behavioural problems get worse.
- Yelling changes the way their brain develops Yelling and other harsh parenting techniques can quite literally change the way your child’s brain develops. That’s because humans process negative information and events more quickly and thoroughly than good ones.
One study compared brain MRI scans of people who had a history of parental verbal abuse in childhood with scans of those who did not have a history of abuse. They found a noticeable physical difference in the parts of the brain responsible for processing sounds and language.
3. Yelling can lead to depression In addition to children feeling hurt, scared, or sad when their parents yell at them, verbal abuse has the ability to cause deeper psychological issues that carry into adulthood.
In the study that tracked increasing behavioural problems by 8-year-olds who were yelled at, researchers also found an uptick in depressive symptoms. Many other studies also show a connection between emotional abuse and depression or anxiety. These kinds of symptoms can lead to worsening behaviour and can even develop into self-destructive actions.
4. Yelling has effects on physical health The experiences we have growing up shape us in many ways, some of which we may not even realise. Stress in childhood from a verbally abusive parent can increase a child’s risk for certain health problems as an adult. Research tells us that experiencing stress as a child can have long-term impacts on physical health.
5. Yelling can cause chronic pain A recent study found a link between negative childhood experiences, including verbal and other kinds of abuse, and the later development of painful chronic conditions. The conditions included arthritis, bad headaches, back and neck problems, and other chronic pain.
It’s never too late to make a change in your parenting behaviour or learn some new techniques. If you notice yourself yelling a lot or losing your temper, ask for help. A therapist or even another parent can help you sort through some of those feelings and develop a plan to deal with them in a healthier way.