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NYT: For Some Parents, Shouting Is the New Spanking

the-new-york-times1I recently read an interesting New York Times article entitled “For Some Parents, Shouting Is the New Spanking” by Hilary Stout, where the author observes how parents now tend to use yelling as a preferable form of discipline over spanking or hitting.

As fathers, I think for most tend to assume the role of disciplinarian in the family.  When I was a child my mother constantly repeated the phrase, “Just wait until your father gets home,” which would typically inspire my brother and I to stop tormenting each other and behave (for at least a few minutes).  While my father didn’t spank us unless we truly deserved it, the threat was always there and it helped us stay in line.

At the time of this posting, my daughter is just 21 months old, but I’ve already found myself in a position where I need to give her a little tap on the rear to convey some type of understanding that her recent actions were either wrong, or just downright idiotic and may cause future harm to her (i.e. jumping off of the couch, landing directly on her face). But immediately after “tapping” her ever so slightly, I felt guilty about it – she’s a child, she doesn’t know better.

As of late, I’ve resorted more towards yelling at her and trying to reinforce that touching the DVD player is wrong, putting keys in her mouth is probably not a good idea, or biting my arm is not cool.  At first I thought I was getting my point across with the increased volume and stern tone, but she is a classic repeat offender and I am the sucker who keeps yelling.

Striking study from the article:  ”Psychologists and psychiatrists generally say yelling should be avoided. It’s at best ineffective (the more you do it the more the child tunes it out) and at worse damaging to a child’s sense of well-being and self-esteem.”

Something to think about as you scream at your kids for trying to pull on the cat’s tail.

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