PITTSBURGH—”Most parents who yell at their adolescent children wouldn’t dream of physically punishing their teens. Yet their use of harsh verbal discipline—defined as shouting, cursing, or using insults—may be just as detrimental to the long-term well-being of adolescents.
That’s the main finding of a new study led by Ming-Te Wang, assistant professor of psychology in education in the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Education and of psychology in Pitt’s Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. The results were published online in the journal Child Development.
Research has shown that a majority of parents use harsh verbal discipline at some point during their child’s adolescence. Relatively little research has been done, however, into understanding the effects of this kind of discipline.
The paper, coauthored by Sarah Kenny, a graduate student in the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, concludes that, rather than minimizing problematic behavior in adolescents, the use of harsh verbal discipline may in fact aggravate it. The researchers found that adolescents who had experienced harsh verbal discipline suffered from increased levels of depressive symptoms, and were more likely to demonstrate behavioral problems such as vandalism or antisocial and aggressive behavior.”