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Study on disciplining children
PITTSBURGH -- Now to a surprising new study about discipline.
Many parents question - what's effective punishment and when is the line crossed?
A new study from the University of Pittsburgh shows yelling, shouting, and raising your voice equate with spanking.
We get reaction from Oklahoma parents and hear from an expert.
2 and half year old Bower has a ball at the neighborhood playground, but he can be a handful when he doesn't get his way.
"There's one spot in the house where we take him for time-out, he can't stand it." it just breaks his heart."
Bower's father and the other parents we spoke with don't believe in spanking, and they don't believe in yelling either.
Even though for many parents, it can seem like an instinctual reaction.
"I understand that they're kids. It's not going to help to yell at them. I just don't do it."
"I save yelling for when they're in danger. So if I'm yelling, that means they're scared, they're alert, they're paying attention."
And experts agree safety issues are the appropriate time to yell.
Family Therapist Mary Ellen Million isn't surprised by the new study equating yelling with spanking.
"Lots of parents think I have to make them respect me. But honestly, if you treat children with respect, especially when they're real young, if you speak with respect, they're more likely to automatically speak with respect."
But showing kids respect doesn't let them off the hook.
"Sometimes what you have to say as a parent- 'no. That's the answer.' you don't have to yell at them. You don't have to put them down while you do."
Million says while verbal and physical punishment aren't effective, it can take work for some parents to avoid using them.
I can lose my cool. And it's typically, I vent, then leave the room."
Mom of 2, Katherine Shelley gives herself a mommy time out when she needs one, and million agrees that's a great idea.
"Take that time-out and think about what is it I want this child to learn, what is it I need this child to do, and how am I going to get them to do it best?"
That same study shows it doesn't get any easier as kids get older.
Yelling and cursing at adolescents, and using insults, may be just as damaging to them in the long run as physical abuse.