Is yelling at your kids bad? Research says yes, and here's why

Parents often do their best to avoid yelling at their children, simply because the act can be upsetting and stressful for everyone involved. But, as a 2015 study by Pew Research revealed, about 22% of parent participants often use yelling as a disciplinary measure.
It may feel like yelling is just something that causes temporary upset for you and your little ones, but the truth is the problem can actually be much worse.
What yelling does to kids
Recent research suggests that yelling has long term consequences for children. In particular, it results in children being more aggressive, both verbally and physically.
Laura Markham, author of "Peaceful Parents, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting," says that yelling teaches children to lash out versus trying to understand their emotions and calm down.
While it may make sense to yell at your kids if they are in immediate danger, overly excessive yelling isn't without consequences.
How to avoid yelling at your kids
Yelling at your kids can create serious, long-term problems while other methods of discipline can be much safer and more effective. So consider committing now to lowering your voice for good and using these ten techniques to avoid shouting at your children.
1. Familiarize yourself with the science.
A great way to avoid yelling at your kids is to learn exactly how damaging the act is for them. For example, a 2013 study by the University of Pittsburg found kids "who had experienced harsh verbal discipline" experienced increased symptoms associated with depression and behavioral problems. Unfortunately, this was also similar to the outcome for kids who experience physical punishment.
2. Think about what the behavior is teaching.
When you yell at your kids, you're teaching them this behavior is appropriate. According to parenting coach Meghan Leahy, this means they will either learn to imitate your raised voice or to shut down. “You’re either growing aggression or growing shame. Those are not characteristics that any parents want in their kids.”
3. Commit to avoiding yelling.
Once you consider the issues associated with consistent raised voices, it's important to make a commitment to avoid yelling. However, there are some times where you may need to break your own rule, such as when your child is in danger and needs to be surprised out of a bad situation. Knowing the right times to use this tool (and why they are few and far between) will help you immensely.
4. Learn to manage your reactions.
So, you're ready to end the yelling cycle. First and foremost, you'll need to learn to manage your emotions in the way that's best for you. Whether it's counting to ten, reminding yourself that your child is only [insert age here], or carrying around a stress-relieving squash ball, find your thing, and use it.
5. Recognize your triggers.
When you know what makes you want to yell, you'll be able to avoid these triggers more easily in the future. For example, if you're the kind of person who snaps when you're feeling tired, make sure you have backup at bedtime, or consider going to bed earlier so you can have a longer fuse in the morning.
6. Do your research.
Do you know what's age-appropriate for your youngster? Maybe you didn't realize tantrums are the standard behavior for your two-year-old or that your fifteen-year-old is supposed to want to spend more time with her friends than with you. When you know the facts, you won't have to feel as frustrated.
7. Step away to regain your composure.
Sometimes, reasoning with your emotions or squishing a stress ball just won't cut it. In these situations, it's best to remove yourself for a bit. Ask for help from a partner, a friend, or a babysitter, and give yourself a chance to calm down.
8. Explain your frustrations.
This is not to say you should let your kids do whatever they choose without explaining why you're upset. Once you're calm, talking about your feelings is a very important way of showing your child that someone can be frustrated — angry, even – without lashing out.
9. Use yourself as an example.
Consider the ways in which you might've acted out as a child, some of which might be very similar to this situation. Then discuss this with your child. When you tell your son that you also wanted to attend a concert at his age but your mom insisted she come with you, you can both commiserate with him and show him the alternative wasn't so bad.
10. Punish without yelling.
Sometimes, all the discussions, calm attitudes and empathy in the world won't fix the situation, and punishment is necessary. However, you can always punish without raising your voice. Taking away a favorite electronic device or toy is the best way to show you mean business.
There are lots of ways to avoid yelling in the future, most of which involve understanding what's going on with your child and how best to approach them. It can be difficult to stop raising your voice, but the benefits far outweigh the strains. does not give medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.