Why Yelling at Kids is as Harmful as Spanking Them

By Sarah Smith, REDBOOK.

Last time I checked, nobody liked to be yelled at. That's why the results of a new study that found that yelling at kids is as harmful as spanking them shouldn't really surprise anybody. Did you learn something last time you got yelled at? Yeah, me neither. Kids aren't some alien species that learns differently.

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Researchers followed nearly 1,000 kids in middle-class families for two years and learned that harsh verbal discipline only makes kids' behavior worse--and contributes to other problems like depression and aggressive behavior. Meaning: They'll yell right back at you, and then go off and get in trouble somewhere else. Pretty counterproductive. There are people out there who think that avoiding yelling is just pandering to kids, turning them into a coddled generation, but the opposite of yelling isn't whispering; it's being calm. You can be calm and stern at the same time.

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It's perfectly natural to want to yell, though--kids can be infuriating. We can't all be Zen all the time, especially in the face of kids who seem utterly deaf to requests and rules. This Washington Post article offered some solutions, all of them harder and more involved than yelling. But if we'd wanted an easy life, we wouldn't have become parents, am I right?

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