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WSJ: Talking to Your Child After You Yell – how to stop the hurt

Yelling is where 90% of the damage is done… Good article on improving your parenting strategies.

WSJ:  Raising your voice isn’t always bad. Loudly describing a problem can call attention to it without hurting anyone, says Adele Faber, a parenting trainer in Roslyn Heights, N.Y., and co-author of “How to Be the Parent You Always Wanted to Be.” For example: “I just mopped the kitchen floor and now it is covered with muddy footprints.”

Yelling becomes damaging when it is a personal attack, belittling or blaming a child with statements such as “Why can’t you ever remember?” or, “You always get this wrong!” Ms. Faber says.

Many parents lose control because they take children’s misbehavior or rebellion personally, research shows: They feel attacked or think the child’s actions reflect poorly on them. Parents who see a child’s negative emotions as unexpected, overwhelming and upsetting tend to feel more threatened and frustrated with each new outburst, says a study published earlier this month in the Journal of Family Psychology. This pattern, called “emotional flooding,” triggers a downward spiral in the relationship, disrupting the parent’s problem-solving ability and fueling emotional reactions, such as yelling.

Teens whose parents use “harsh verbal discipline” such as shouting or insults are more likely to have behavior problems and depression symptoms, says a recent study of 976 middle-class adolescents and their parents, published online last September and led by Ming-Te Wang, an assistant professor of psychology and education at the University of Pittsburgh.

Many parents lose control because they take children’s misbehavior personally. What can help: learning to notice the warning signs in your body, having age-appropriate expectations for your child, and building a margin into daily routines to allow time to deal with mishaps. Robert Neubecker

Another study suggests yelling at children may have consequences that go beyond those of spanking. Eight-year-olds whose parents disciplined them by yelling have less satisfying relationships with romantic partners and spouses at age 23, according to a 15-year study led by Stephanie Parade, an assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University. “Parents who yell may miss out on a chance to teach children to regulate their emotions,” she says.

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