yelling at kids can be just as harmful as spanking

like many of us, she yells at her kids. It’s not that she enjoys hollering at them, but when her sons, five-year-old Ayden and two-year-old Hunter, misbehave, her patience wears thin. Frustration takes over and next thing she knows, she’s shouting.

“I yell if I have to ask for something to be done more than four or five times, and when we’re running late and Ayden won’t get dressed. I yell at dinner when he’s being picky. I yell when Ayden disrupts Hunter’s nap,” the Toronto mom says. “I rarely shout at Hunter, but when I do, it’s because he’s pulling the cat’s tail, trying to ride our 70-pound dog, hitting his brother or climbing on something unsafe.” Ironically, Michaelov also yells at her boys when they’re—yep—yelling at each other

the journal Child Development published some headline-grabbing research with an alarmist message: Yelling at your kids can be just as bad as corporal punishment, and it could cause behaviour problems and emotional development issues. Even Dr. Phil went on the morning shows to tell parents to turn down the volume, because, he said, yelling will just cause your kids to go into “shutdown mode.” According to the study, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor determined that severe verbal discipline from parents is particularly destructive to tweens and teens. Adolescents whose parents had been using yelling as a discipline method were more likely to have behavioural issues and to act out (including with vandalism and violence). The effects of frequent verbal discipline and insults were comparable to those of physical discipline (like spanking and hitting) over the course of the two-year study.