Yelling at kids may be as damaging as spanking them, study says


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If you yell at your child, you either create somebody who yells back at you or somebody who is shamed and retreats. You’re either growing aggression or growing shame. Those are not characteristics that any parents want in their kids

Oh yeah, I learned early on that your children reflect back exactly what you give to them. They are little mirrors.

You want hate and rage back? Show them hate and rage.

This is also why it’s so exhausting to be a parent, you constantly have to be a model of correct, loving, sane behavior around your children. No slipping. They see everything, even the things you no longer see yourself doing.

(also I try like hell not to judge other parents because being a parent is by far the toughest job I have ever had, but sometimes I do see parents giving children the wrong kinds of signals, that they will not want reflected back to them, and I start mentally counting the days until their little girl becomes a stripper…)


The dichotomy of aggression or shame describes most of my friends and others who have come from broken families, myself included.

I personally became fiercely independent and highly aggresive, or perhaps more accurately aggresively defensive and self-isolating. Others I know developed submissive personalities, being overly shy, apologizing for anything and everything, stressing out over perceived unhappiness or dischord in others around them, that sort of thing.

Regarding the “model of correct, loving, sane behavior” that codinghorror mentions above, I personally feel that we as a society should be encouraging folks to hold off on being parents until they’re more like that ideal model.

You wanna be a parent? Fine, but first you need to be a pillar of righteousness and an example to others. We’re at risk of ***over***population, not under. The last thing we need is more kids being born to parents who aren’t yet properly prepared to provide for them, both materially and emotionally.


You and me brother! I’m surprised you haven’t got more likes.

It’s easy to talk about this stuff when you’re comfortably removed from the situation.

Parenting is the hardest thing on the planet. Especially when you have the best intentions.

Sleep deprivation combined with best intentions create a unique type of stress that ultimately makes a bad combination.

It’s a wonder that the human race is not as fucked up as it should be :slight_smile:


Anger and violence beget anger and violence and depression. Nice to have science backing up what seems pretty obvious.

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Those little motherfuckers aren’t afraid of using foul language, either.


My dad would sometimes forget that he was dealing with kids and not a rebellious fishing-boat crew and unleash the most righteous anger on us. I remember the first time when I was five or six, he did actually apologise for his outburst afterwards, but I don’t recall that he ever did again. He never hit us, but being shouted at by an enormous, apoplectic adult was more than bad enough.

I’m taking SSRIs these days, decades later.

Oh man. I remember sitting in my shrinks office years ago telling her I thought I was not entitled to my depression and attempted suicide as my mother rarely hit me and it was mostly verbal abuse. She said to me “what do you think is worse? give a child a smack or shouting he’s a filthy lazy pig in his face over and over”. Got to read this.


Probably parents hating on him for attempting perfect.

He has what sounds like a perfect family. Except, ten years from now there’s addiction, divorce and a pending murder trial. Parents extrapolate what their kids will be from what they are now. What they are now is usually some cowed example of a human being that’s learned what not to do. Interesting humans fight back.

As you get older you learn that you can do more, get away with more and screw the people around you without consequence.

Any story that starts, in precis, “My family was a tough struggle but they’re all perfect now” is BS. Five minutes after that last quotation mark everything is a knife fight. Or they’re a really boring family.

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My parents used to use physical discipline, and I felt sorry for the kids whose parents would shout at them. I wouldn’t use my parents’ methods on my own children, but I felt confident that they believed it was for my good. They always told me what the punishment would be and why, would never punish me for embarrassing them or making an honest mistake and would never hit me when they were angry. The last one was the most important, which is why we would never be disciplined on the spot. I never really liked the criticism of physical discipline that I heard later as I felt it focused too much on the methods without considering the motivation behind it. If my dad had beaten me out of anger I would have been terrified (which is one reason I oppose physical discipline now - it’s probably best to avoid grey areas in this issue), but it could have been more damaging if he had just yelled at me. However it is done, I think discipline should show a child that they are valuable enough as people to expect reasonable behavior from them. Shouting at someone or beating them has the opposite effect, as a rule.


There’s a concept in child psychology of “good enough” parenting. Basically meaning that you can fuck up like a normal person and as long as you love, provide for, and support your kid, they won’t have long-term repercussions from the times you were sleep deprived, irritable, lost your temper, etc. Making harsh verbal discipline a practice however, with no apologies or discussion afterwards, causes problems.


I tend to keep a level head, but man those little monkeys can be infuriating. The only time I raise my voice is to get their attention - sometimes they are completely ignoring requests, direction and the rest. Once I have their attention I deliver in a level tone.

And of course, I never get angry. More than once an hour. But I keep it quiet as best I can.

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No yelling? How else can you get them off your lawn?


You quickly learn to make up for volume with intensity.


Who’s an intensely adorable poster? You.
Who’s dunning himself for repetition, over-enunciation, code-switching overyoung, and not actively running away in speech in order to encourage a child to bokeh my attention over here? This’n.

If they aren’t, then you’re parenting wrong.

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following on from Maggie’s ‘voices in your head posts’ in my early teens I began to notice that whenever I would independently decide to do something that my parents probably wouldn’t agree with I would experience a very uneasy and intense moment of fright, anger and shame, as if I’d just been yelled at by my folks.

It abated with time, but I’m not so sure that wasn’t because I had noticed the reaction and correlation in the first place.


Reality is somewhat different from studies performed. The point is, although experts tell us how to raise well-adjusted children, the truth is that some children just do not grow-up to become well-adjusted adults. I have met men and women who had horrific childhoods, some were abandoned and raised in orphanages, others were physically and sexually abused and yet everyone of these individuals have turned out to be well adjusted adults and many are excellent parents. As human beings we have a plethora of feelings, emotions and responses to our environment and I believe it can be just as harmful to raise a child in an emotionally controlled home, one without the normal emotional responses that people experience such as anger, raised voices, etc. and go out into a world where these emotions are vividly expressed and acted upon. Exactly how do these emotionally pure individuals respond or not respond when confronted by a yelling co-worker etc.? It is clear we do not inhabit a perfect world and in my humble opinion, to create an illusion of complete equanimity all the time for the sake of perhaps fostering emotionally stable offspring.

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Personally it was the unequal treatment of myself and my brothers that’s caused the most hassles in my life. That and a failure to follow through with promises of rewards for good behaviour and punishments for negative behaviour. Childhood is when you Need there to be rules, plenty of time later to find the grey areas of life.