Researchers suspect parents are yelling more. Parents have been conditioned to avoid spanking, so they vent their anger and frustration by shouting instead. Three out of four parents yell, scream or shout at their children or teens about once a month, on average, for misbehaving or making them angry, research shows. Increasingly, therapists and parenting experts are homing in on how it hurts a child, as well as how to stop it.
Many parents lose control because they take children’s misbehavior or rebellion personally, research shows: They feel attacked or think the child’s actions reflect poorly on them. Parents who see a child’s negative emotions as unexpected, overwhelming and upsetting tend to feel more threatened and frustrated with each new outburst, says a study published earlier this month in the Journal of Family Psychology. This pattern, called “emotional flooding,” triggers a downward spiral in the relationship, disrupting the parent’s problem-solving ability and fueling emotional reactions, such as yelling.