Yelling could be as harmful as hitting children, new study shows

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  • Eliyahu Pleasant Grove, UT
    Sept. 17, 2013 1:20 p.m.

    If it's all the same, I think I would have preferred being yelled at instead of the frequent beatings and spankings I received as a child.

  • dski HERRIMAN, UT
    Sept. 17, 2013 8:09 a.m.

    I am amazed that social engineers are given much attention as real scientists. I guess they need it to be credible. How did mankind made it this far without them? Life is a dog-eat-dog world. No one gives you anything for free. Yelling at kids may not all be bad. When they get out there on their own, being yelled at will be something they have already learned to deal with. No emotional breakdown or shocked when dealing in the real world. My qualifications? A parent with five children. All productive citizens in their communities. They all served LDS missions. They all graduated from BYU. I would do it over again (same routine) if I had to start all over. I'm just saying.

  • zoar63 Mesa, AZ
    Sept. 15, 2013 3:20 p.m.

    Drawing from the scriptures

    “ Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;”
    (D&C 121:43)

  • FelisConcolor North Salt Lake, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 8:51 a.m.

    You know what studies and statistics and actual data show is really, really, REALLY bad for kids, especially boys? Growing up in a home without a biological father.

    Today it seems we are constantly barraged with "studies" by "social scientists" which purport to show the aspects of child-rearing traditionally associated with a stern father -- corporal punishment, yelling, deprivation -- are somehow abusive and damaging to children. Yet the reality is kids who don't have a Dad present in the home are much more likely to drop out, get pregnant, use drugs, be depressed, or go to jail.

    I've seen this first-hand: My niece is raising three boys by herself; their father is not involved at all. She's nice and she tries hard, but she's in over her head; the oldest just started kindergarten, and he already has been suspended once for disciplinary reasons.

    Statistically-speaking, kids are far, far more likely to grow up to be happy and successful in a house with a loudmouthed Dad than they are to grow up in a house with a soft-spoken mother.

  • I know it. I Live it. I Love it. Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 14, 2013 3:36 p.m.

    An article says "don't yell", and everyone suddenly complains about being told how imperfect they are. It seems people have a bigger fear of how they are viewed as parents, than how they actually act as parents. If propriety isn't a factor, I simply don't think anyone would complain about this article or the people replying to it.

    No one is the perfect parent, but that doesn't make it wrong to point out things to avoid either. If this is a guilt-inducing article, then it's no worse than an article that says "don't beat your kids". The fact is, right is right and wrong is wrong and you either are doing the right thing or you aren't.

    It doesn't make you a bad person to make mistakes. It makes you a bad person when you want to make them or don't care to try to improve. This article may help some people who don't consider the consequences of how they talk to their children. If you feel too guilty reading it, maybe the problem isn't in the article.

    This isn't rocket science. It's parenting 101.

  • anti-liar Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 14, 2013 12:18 p.m.

    It is horrifying to note denial, defiance, rationalizing, and soft-pedaling, relative to the study's conclusions, on the part of some. Decidedly, the truth can be hard to bear.

    I quote Elder Dallin H. Oaks:

    "When we consider the dangers from which children should be protected, we should also include psychological abuse. Parents or other caregivers or teachers or peers who demean, bully, or humiliate children or youth can inflict harm more permanent than physical injury."

    (General Conference, October 2012)

  • Kaotic USA, UT
    Sept. 13, 2013 9:33 p.m.

    I was spanked and yelled at when I was a kid and I turned out fine. It got me ready for the real thing called adulthood. I believe if there was more discipline in the home from ALL parents and a whole lot less cell phones and IPods then we would have much better behavior from our kids. We have made things too easy for our children and they have become very spoiled and very disrespectful. We have created zombies with the texting and the problems the internet can create. It has made our kids a lot less attuned to the real world and becoming responsible adults. I think the article doesn't define the real problem...

  • BigBuddha Chandler, AZ
    Sept. 13, 2013 12:03 p.m.

    My father in law yelled and beat his kids...they seem to have turned out alright

  • gr8fl4genealogy BRIGHAM CITY, UT
    Sept. 13, 2013 10:44 a.m.

    I think we're probably all guilty of yelling at our kids at one point in time or another. However, we need to remember that while bruises will heal and disappear harsh words will forever be repeated in the mind of the one to whom they are spoken.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Sept. 13, 2013 10:30 a.m.

    "Mothers’ and fathers’ harsh verbal discipline at age 13 predicted an increase in adolescent conduct problems and depressive symptoms between ages 13 and 14" the study said.


    I liked the comments of "Ted's Head" and I M LDS 2
    because I also immediately thought that the above statement many times is confusing and confounding
    cause and effect.

    Mothers and fathers who start off calm and loving and "all things nice" often end up raising the volume
    to the "habitually deaf" child, who just doesn't listen /hearken. These are often the problem children. You might even get their attention this way; somehow you have to unless you're just going to give up on them.

    The when they predictably "get in trouble" b'c they despise instruction, these genius researchers claim that the "yelling" caused it. Perhaps if they hadn't got their charge's attention it would have been worse, far worse.

    Be that as it may the word "yelling" itself has suffered severe verbal inflation. It progressively has come to mean, you spoke a little louder, you said something I didn't like, I didn't like your tone, don't ever tell me I'm wrong about anything.

  • Alterego Harrisville, UT
    Sept. 13, 2013 10:28 a.m.

    a guilt inducing article...fwiw I was spanked and I recall my parents fighting and yelling at one another. I still turned out pretty well.

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    Sept. 13, 2013 9:57 a.m.

    Many families in my Ward have such an aversion to conflict (contention being "of the devil" and all), and yelling, many of them engage in silent treatments, passive aggression (including gossiping "in a calm voice" about others behind their backs), and a variety of controlling and manipulative tactics that are, at best, dishonest, and at worst, outright appalling.

    I did not see where this study deliberately examined some of the benefits of "yelling" - such as openness in relationships, direct communication, clear expression of feelings, understanding where others are coming from, etc.

    This study also assumes yelling to be the cause, and tries to examine the effects of yelling. But what if yelling is the effect? What is the cause? Problem kids can cause frustration in parents. That frustration can be compelling and induce yelling, despite our best efforts to express or manage it in other ways. But it is less than helpful to a parent of a problem teen to send the message: "Just control yourself and refrain from yelling".

    If it was that easy, I'm sure no parent would ever yell and all teens would be little angels!

    This study certainly is not the last word.

  • redshirt007 tranquility base, 00
    Sept. 13, 2013 7:54 a.m.

    I've lost my patience with my daughter a few times but I can name them on less than one hand. But I only have 1 kid and she's very calm and well mannered so it's easy, not skill or my natural parental talent.

    I have in laws that have a brood of kids and I can see it's much harder to accomplish a calm demeanor when they all fight all the time so I don't judge. I think as long as your kids know you love them fiercely they can get over some three named yelling once in a while. My mom yelled a lot, but wasn't very good at showing affection so it really hurt our relationship for many years.

  • The Authority Richfield, UT
    Sept. 12, 2013 4:27 p.m.

    So if this new generation of children is raised without every having been yelled at for doing something stupid, what are they going to do when their bosses scream at them?
    Saying that taking away privileges is effective is all well and good, but what happens when the kid takes the attitude of "I don't care."
    If you don't do your homework, no TV for a week.
    "I don't care."
    Since I caught you smoking weed, I'm taking away your iPod.
    "Big whoop."
    Some kids will throw the respectful calm approach right back in your face.

  • From Ted's Head Orem, UT
    Sept. 12, 2013 4:27 p.m.

    Ok...congratulations to all you perfect parents out there who have never yelled at, screamed at, or cursed at your 13 year old, or called then lazy, dumb, or stupid. And since all children and situations are the same, it can be assumed that you would be perfect regardless of the 13 year old's behavior. I bow down to you. You are a better human being than I am.

    Now, as far as the article goes, it and the associated study are laughable in some aspects. For example, the authors noted that 13 year olds who were yelled at continued to exhibit bad behavior. Duh. Why do you think they were yelled at in the first place? PLUS...these surveys were self-reporting, so what better way to get back at mom and dad than to over-report one's dirty deeds? And as if puberty had no role in the continuing bad behavior. Furthermore, the study had nothing to do with physical discipline. The authors merely saw a correlation with similar studies of the age group that did investigate the impact of physical discipline.

    Yelling etc should be avoided. So should extrapolating too much from limited scope research studies.

  • Anne26 West Jordan, UT
    Sept. 12, 2013 12:27 p.m.

    I learned from raising a difficult child, that raising my voice only made things worse. I came to realize that how I reacted to him was my responsibility and I needed to remain calm, even when he wasn't.

    For us, talking about things calmly when emotions had settled down worked well. Also, I found removing privileges was a good way to motivate good behavior in this particular child. It didn't hurt my feelings at all to take away his video game privileges, and he knew it. Because we had discussed consequences beforehand, he knew what would happen when he misbehaved. It was usually enough to motivate him.

    That being said, I learned these things the hard way after doing things the wrong way for far too long. I know my angry reaction hurt him and was out of line on my part. I wish I had been wiser from the start.

  • Daniel Leifker San Francisco, CA
    Sept. 8, 2013 10:19 a.m.

    I can see why yelling has been done so much. When I was in Air Force basic training, the "team instructors" (i.e., drill sergeants) screamed and yelled at 90 decibels and used unimaginably crude cuss words with machine-gun rapidity. Later I was told that military psychologists actually advocated this practice, because it was allegedly the fastest and most effective way to motivate people. It sure motivated me. But combat and military training are unique, and these methods have no place in schools or families.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Sept. 8, 2013 10:00 a.m.

    Do You Understand The Words That's Coming Out Of My Mouth.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    Sept. 7, 2013 1:02 p.m.

    There is a lot more power in a quiet voice. I had to learn this, especially surrounded by a handfull of small children 24/7 and now as a teacher of over 200 elementary kids during the week. No good communication comes from yelling, except like Idaho Dad said, if you need to save someone's life.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    Sept. 7, 2013 9:55 a.m.

    Yelling is abusive, selfish and immature. It shows total lack of respect for the one who's being yelled at. It can leave scars that never heal. I have no respect for those who behave this way. It is NOT acceptable.

  • Idaho Dad Pocatello, ID
    Sept. 7, 2013 8:59 a.m.

    Twenty-five years ago we determined our family policy: It is OK to raise your voice at someone if you are trying to save their life.

    This has worked out great for us and we recommend it highly.

  • Kramer's Corner Penryn, CA
    Sept. 7, 2013 12:20 a.m.


    Great observation Whatsnu, we may not be fine after being occasionally yelled at during our childhood. We think we are doing pretty well socially. We're not burdens on society and have contributed our time and means to help others. We just enjoyed our 48 wedding anniversary and love each other more each year. The yelling we received didn't interfere with our education or our employment. Maybe the hidden scars you referred to will manifest their ugly grasp on us but it better happen soon as we are in our 70th year. Again, I agree that yelling isn't good for the yeller or the one receiving the yelling. The study you referred to must have relied heavily on anecdotal examples to validate their conclusion. I feel that I am equally entitled to use such personal observations to support my previous comment. You may have been yelled at occasionally, too. You survived. I hope your scars don't hold you back from having a productive life.

  • Whatsnu Sandy, UT
    Sept. 6, 2013 2:27 p.m.

    Kramer's Corner

    Don't assume that a couple of anecdotal examples invalidate a much larger study. Frequency and intensity are contributing factors that vary from child to child. Besides, how do you know that you're "fine" and don't harbor hidden scars that have yet to manifest themselves?

  • I know it. I Live it. I Love it. Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 6, 2013 1:48 p.m.

    1) Don't dispute or contend in front of your children.
    2) Yelling at your children is less effective than showing respect.
    3) Yelling at your children may get you what you want now, but that purpose is defeated when you loose it later when they grow older and realize that they don't have to listen to you anymore, nor do they have to like you anymore.

    Every one of us knows what it takes. We may be fooled into thinking we aren't capable or that we don't know what to do. But the Savior is our example. He always has been and always will be. You may not always have to be soft-spoken or indirect. Sometimes being blunt is helpful. But being respectful is important. If you don't respect your children, and SHOW that to them, you have no right to expect such respect in return.

    Families are damaged by showing anyone in the home such hatred. It's damaging and it never does any good. There is only one way to establish peace, and that's being peaceful. It takes 2 to argue. It only takes 1 to show kindness.

  • Montana Mormon Miles City, MT
    Sept. 6, 2013 12:24 p.m.

    I like this piece of wisdom from Ecclesiasticus 28:17-18 of the Apocrypha:
    "The stroke of the whip maketh marks in the flesh: but the stroke of the tongue breaketh the bones. Many have fallen by the edge of the sword: but not so many as have fallen by the tongue."

  • Kramer's Corner Penryn, CA
    Sept. 6, 2013 12:20 p.m.

    After discussing this issue with my wife she asked me, "Were you ever yelled at when you were growing up?" My answer, "Yes." Then I asked her if she had been yelled at and her answer was yes. She stated that we had turned out fine. I agreed. I'll bet that everyone has been yelled at during their lifetime. I agree that communication, love and limits are important. I also agree that yelling is not good. I don't agree with the conclusions of this article.

  • perfidemintrepidus Riverton, UT
    Sept. 6, 2013 9:07 a.m.

    As a recovering victim of domestic abuse, I can attest that it has long-lasting harmful affects that inhibit certain areas of emotional growth. Now as a first-time father, I see that it is imperative to control my emotions and seek assistance from more experienced parents as needed. Certain aspects of parenting seem to be never mastered, but always offering your heart to love the child with every ounce of energy you have seems to be the key. In a way I am grateful for my adversity as a child as it taught me to be strong and talk about serious issues like depression and reciprocated aggression. I will deal with this for the rest of my life, but I refuse to let it to control my life.