orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

September 14, 2013

Yelling is as hurtful as hitting

Charles Holt
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Andrea Petersen writes: “Parents who yell at their adolescent children for misbehaving can cause some of the same problems as hitting them would, including increased risk of depression and aggressive behavior.” This according to a new study that appeared on the Journal Child Development’s website.

Many parents have long known that spanking a child has been frowned upon by child-rearing experts. This same principle holds true for other physical forms of child abuse. Of course, the recent report of the abuse of the very small infant who reportedly received a broken neck and other broken bones shocked us all. Child abuse of any kind should receive society’s most powerful form of condemnation.

The question may come: Does the Bible have anything to say on this important subject? I think it does. The apostle Paul writes to the Ephesus church some friendly family advice: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord [as His representatives], for this is just and right. Honor (esteem and value as precious) your father and your mother—this is the first commandment with a promise—that all may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth. Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:1-4 AMP).

Clearly, it takes two--parents & children-- to create a nourishing and nurturing home environment. Both parties have a role to play. My wife and I will celebrate our 65th wedding anniversary next month. We are the proud parents of six grown children with their families. We began early in their lives having what was then called “a family altar.” Regular church attendance played a significant role in their development. Nowadays, every phone call with our children ends with, “I love you!” Any family can do this.

“Shouting cannot reduce or correct [a child’s problem behavior], said Dr. Ming-Te Wang…a co-author of the study. On the contrary, it makes it worse,” he said. Why does yelling have such a negative effect? … adolescence is a very sensitive period when [kids] are trying to develop their self-identities,” Dr. Wang said, “when you yell, it hurts their self-image. It makes them feel they are not capable, that they are worthless and are useless,” the study concludes.