Friday, January 13, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 13

Today was better! Once again Tabs woke up at 2, but she was only up for 30 minutes or so. I'm hoping she'll get better.

I woke up with some energy, which is great. I'm still on the mind fog, but I'm hopeful I'm coming out of sugar withdrawals. I feel like I can see light at the end of a dark tunnel.

A study of long therm effects of yelling on adolescence is giving me motivation to try harder.

The study was in 10 public middle schools in eastern Pennsylvania over a two-year period, working with 967 adolescents, most from middle-class families, and their parents.

The study showed a few very interesting things. First, rather than minimizing problematic behavior in adolescents, the use of harsh verbal discipline may in fact aggravate it.  Harsh verbal discipline occurred more frequently in instances in which the child exhibited problem behaviors, and these same problem behaviors in turn were more likely to continue when adolescents received verbal discipline. “It’s a vicious circle,” The author of the study stated “Problem behaviors from children create the desire to give harsh verbal discipline, but that discipline may push adolescents toward those same problem behaviors.”

This reinforced something I had already read: Yelling at children teaches them to yell. Yelling is an ineffective form of communication. The parent yells, the child yells, neither communicate and the situation just gets worse and worse.

Second, the negative effects of verbal discipline (increased levels of depressive symptoms, more likely to demonstrate behavioral problems such as vandalism or antisocial and aggressive behavior.) were comparable to the effects shown over the same period of time in other studies that focused on physical discipline. So even though I think it's better to yell than to hit, the long-term effects aren't so different.

And third,  the researchers also found that love, emotional support, and affection between parents and adolescents did not lessen the effects of the verbal discipline, and neither did the strength of the parent-child bond. So if I only yell once a day, or even once a week, and shower my children with love every other time, they's still have the damaging effects of yelling.

So, what I gathered from this study is that It's not ok for me to yell at my kids.  It isn't productive. It doesn't result it better behavior, it results in worse behavior. It teaches them ineffective communication and stunts them learning how to communicate in a healthy way. There are no excuses for yelling.

The researchers of the study said a much better approach than yelling is for parents to communicate with their adolescence on an equal level, explaining their worries and rationale to them. I think that to a point, that will also help with children. If I try to communicate with my children, they will try to communicate with me. If we are communicating, we can problem solve.  The best book I have read on communicating with children is How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber, Elaine Mazlish. I feel this book opened up a whole new world to me and it's something every parent would benefit from reading at least once a year. In fact, after reading this study, I think I'm going to try and read a chapter of it a few times a week, just to keep in my mind how to teach and learn effective communication, since the study points out that that is critical to healthy, well behaved children. Hopefully that will help me to stop yelling.


  1. Trying to quit sugar and yelling at the same time maaaaaaay have been too much on the plate, but it sounds like you are starting to recover a little? Hooray for the light at the end of the tunnel?

    Love these book links! Sounds like some great reads in there!

  2. I saw an article the other day (and promptly lost it) about how getting interrupted sleep is as bad as or worse than getting no sleep at all. Can you put Drek in charge of Tabs on weekends at least?


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