Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

More harm than good

Yelling at adolescents is counter-productive, a new study finds.

If children in some parts of the world were once required to be "seen and not heard", one might now have to apply that same piece of advice to frustrated parents attempting to discipline their errant teenagers.

A new study published by thejournal Child Development has found that harsh verbal discipline meted out by a parent will actually aggravate teenagers' behaviour, instead of improving it.

Researchers tracked more than 1,000 US children, most of them middle-class, over a two-year period, and found that 13-year-olds who were shouted at by their parents were more likely to suffer from depressive symptoms and low self-esteem in the following year.

Adolescence is a time of rapid physical and cognitive change, when not listening, defying curfews and hanging out with questionable friends are all part of the growing-up experience.

The burden of finding and using industrial quantities of both care and patience naturally rests with parents, who must summon up a sophisticated response to each crisis. This study will only confirm what many parents have learnt, some of them the hard way: shouting about your frustrations rarely gets your voice heard.

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Ali Benflis, opposition leader and main rival to Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika speaks to the press after casting his vote in the presidential elections at a polling station in Algiers on. Former prime minister Benflis ran against Bouteflika in 2004 but lost heavily, charging the vote was rigged 10 years ago and has said fraud will be his ‘main adversary’ during the election. Patrick Baz / AFP Photo

Best photography from around the world, April 17

The National View's photo editors pick the best images of the day from around the world.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

Video: Local reactions to a national fishing ban

A federal fishing ban has been imposed by the UAE federal government, but local authorities are taking diiferent approaches to implementing the ban. Two fishermen tell two very different sides of the story. Produced by Paul O'Driscoll

 Walter Zenga is one win away from claiming silverware for the first time in the UAE. Karim Jaafar / AFP

Walter Zenga seeks early retribution at Al Jazira in Arabian Gulf Cup final

A victory over Al Ahli in the Arabian Gulf Cup final will help prove the Italian has turned around the fortunes of the capital club.

 The new Bentley GT Speed convertible on display at a press event of the New York International Auto Show. Jason Szenes / EPA

In pictures: Hot cars at New York International Auto Show

With more than 1 million visitors annually, the New York International Auto Show is one of the most important shows for the US car industry. Here are some of the vehicles to be shown in this year’s edition.

 The cast of Fast & Furious 7, including Michelle Rodriguez and Vin Diesel, centre, on set at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Fast & Furious 7 filming in full swing at Emirates Palace

Filming for Fast & Furious 7 has started and we have the first photos of the cast and crew on set at Emirates Palace hotel this morning. Visitors staying at Emirates Palace say they have been kept away from certain areas in the grounds.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National