Screaming, Cursing at Your Misbehaving Teen May Backfire

Study found verbal abuse promoted more disobedience and conflict

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Rahil Briggs, director of pediatric behavioral health services at Montefiore Medical Center and an assistant professor of pediatrics with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, expressed little surprise with the findings.

"But it's important to point out that we're not just talking about shouting in frustration, which everybody has done," she acknowledged. "It's one thing entirely to raise your voice at your child. That happens. But it's another thing entirely to say to your teen 'you're dumb' or lazy, or issue vulgarities," Briggs explained.

"The issue," she added, "is that your parents are supposed to be on your side, on your team. But here we're talking about verbal intimidation and humiliation, which is in many ways the most damaging to children trying to find their way in life. So, this finding is not surprising at all."

More information

For more on children and discipline, visit the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

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