Yelling can lead to hurt feelings.

The Disadvantages of Parents Yelling at Kids

by Maggie McCormick

Spanking may be on its way out, but yelling is taking its place. Many parents can relate. Who hasn't snapped after the 50th question in a row or when a child is dragging his feet when you're already 10 minutes late? The sad truth, though, is that yelling can hurt your child as much as -- or more so than -- a swat on the bottom.

Lower Self-Esteem

According to The Child Mind Institute, yelling at your child can cause her to have low self esteem. This is particularly true if the words you yell at her are especially damaging, such as "I wish you were never born," or, "You'll never amount to anything." Even a simple question shouted in anger, such as, "Why on earth would you do that?" can hurt your child because the underlying message in your tone of voice might be telling her, "I think you're stupid."


Yelling at your child may cause him to become physically aggressive, especially when talking about young children. Since he can't always verbalize his bad feelings, he'll strike out in the only way that he knows how. This might manifest in aggression toward you, his peers or others who are younger than he is.

Poor Modeling

Yelling at people isn't generally considered a valid way of dealing with problems in the adult world. For example, yelling at your boss would probably get you fired. Yet, children aren't always treated with the same respect. Children are great little imitators, and they're going to follow in your footsteps. If you flip your lid whenever you get angry, that's the type of behavior they're going to model when they get angry.

Effects on Parents

It's not only the children who are at a disadvantage. Parents also suffer the consequences of yelling at children, and it goes well beyond the nightly feeling that you've failed as a parent. It can lead to additional stress, high blood pressure and increased risk of stroke and heart attack. Keeping your cool can improve your health.

About the Author

Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.

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