Let’s be honest. Parents yell at their kids. It happens. But some parents go too far and it can become harsh punishment or even verbal abuse.
Shouting and yelling are ineffective and explains why no matter how loud a parents shouts, their teenagers don’t listen.
Whether a parent shouts, yells, screams, swears, insults or calls their teen names, those parenting actions increase the risk that the adolescent will misbehave or even possibly suffer symptoms of depression.
Thirteen-year-olds who received a lot of harsh verbal discipline from their parents were more likely to have symptoms of depression at age 14, according to the findings published in the journal Child Development.
When you expose children to prolonged stress — and it does not have to be severe stress — you increase the risk of all kinds of physical and mental health problems, says Alan Kazdin, professor of psychology and child psychiatry at Yale University and author of The Everyday Parenting Toolkit.
“You do not want harshness in the home, you want acceptance, nurturing, love, cuddling.”
Ongoing harsh verbal discipline and criticism can fuel difficulties and rebellion in kids, says Neil Bernstein, an adolescent psychologist in Washington, D.C., and author of How to Keep Your Teenager Out of Trouble and What to Do if You Can’t.
Harsh discipline such as putdowns, cursing, yelling. “That isn’t constructive,” Bernstein says.
Neither is physical abuse. “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,” he says. “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.”
So what else can you do?
1. Educate rather than humiliate.
The goal is to teach your teen appropriate behaviors instead of condemning for making a mistake or yelling back. A teen will learn the majority of his behaviors from his parents. I’m sure parents know this but it’s important to repeat. Remember, harsh yelling or punishment just stops the behavior you don’t like in the moment, but it doesn’t help develop appropriate behaviors needed for your teen in the future.
2. Be responsive, not reactive.
Manage your emotional responses or leave them out of the situation and really listen when talking with your teen. When you’re able to do that, you can respond to what your teen is saying without yelling or having a negative reaction. After your teen is done talking, use “I” statements to express how you feel. For example. “I want you to help me do laundry. I get frustrated when I have no help.” Yes, it is easier said than done but it take time and practice.
3. If you’re frustrated take time to collect yourself.
It’s better to talk to someone when you’re calm and in the mood to be understanding. If you think you’re going to make the conversation worse by yelling or calling your son names, step out of the conversation and take a break. Simply say, “I need time to collect myself. I will come back in 30 minutes.” Then leave the room and cool off. Also make sure you come back to the conversation in 30 minutes. While this may upset your teen, saying something like that is a great way to show them how to collect themselves and self-sooth. And, if you do lose your temper, remember it’s OK, it happens, just regroup, relearn, and try again.
We would love to hear your thoughts! Let us know how you feel or what works for you. And, for more information about your teen go to … www.teenagesons.com