A new study from the University of Pittsburgh has found that yelling is as harmful as spanking when discipling your child.
The two year study found that older children (this study focused on middle school kids) that were subjected to "harsh verbal discipline," such as yelling, cursing, and insults, were more likely to be depressed or have behavioral problems. In addition, this form of discipline is not effective in getting kids to stop the offending behavior.
So, what's a parent to do when yelling is off the table? How do you keep your kid in check without turning into a screaming lunatic? (To be clear, the study did say that a raised-voice wasn't damaging, per se, but more the words that are used. So basically, you can raise your voice, just don't hurl insults.)
Among the many tips offered, here are the three we find most useful/productive:
1.) Be consistent with your expectations and follow through with the consequences. Stay away from the habit of asking your child to do something multiple times. Ask her once, and if it doesn't happen, enforce the consequences. Every time. Don't be swayed by negotiating, crying, or anger.
2.) Let go of the small stuff. Of course we all want kids with perfect manners and impeccable timing. Truth is, that will never happen. Let go of the small every day stuff that might annoy you, but generally doesn't have an overall effect on your child's moral character or safety. Save the disciplining for the big stuff (respect, personal safety, values and responsibility, lapses in judgment that could have put him and other in danger, etc.)
3.) Model good behavior. Practice what you preach. Just as you expect your child to apologize when he does something wrong, own up and apologize for your own mistakes. Behave the way you want your child to behave. Who knows — it might rub off on him!
Read the full article for more tips on how to discipline without yelling, and remember to leave your own tips in the comment section!