Correct them if they're wrong: Verbal discipline


While it is not okay to hit a child, it is OK to yell at him or her.

Recently it has come to my attention that parents today approach child rearing quite differently today than how parents have in the past.

We all know about the days when people would hear horror stories of Catholic school teachers or nuns cracking the whip to educate America’s youth.

Now, I first want to clear up the fact that I do not agree with severely hitting your child, but I think that steps need to be taken to get your point across.

Alexandra Petri, a writer for The Washington Post, wrote recently in an article that discussed when it was appropriate to yell at your children.

“A study released in September said yelling at your kids is just as bad as hitting them,” Petri wrote.

The study was conducted in the Journal of Child Development, and stresses that harsh verbal discipline can be devastating to children, especially teenagers.

I could not disagree with this more.

How else are you supposed to teach your child right from wrong? By engaging a 3-year-old in serious discussion?

I think that one day when I eventually have children, I will yell at my kids if they do something wrong.

When I say, “something wrong,” I mean like reaching for a knife or talking back to me.

I want to teach my children what is respectful behavior and what is not.

“Try to motivate your child to do what you want them to do by setting up systems where they will earn privileges by behavior that you like,” said Dr. Carolyn Levers-Landis, a child psychologist at UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland.

Motivating your children is great, but I feel like this would only work in certain instances.
For example, potty training. I have heard that during potty training their children, parents will sometimes enforce a sticker reward system.

A gold star if their child used the bathroom and no sticker if they had an accident.

This is a reward system to me, if my child does something good, I want to let them know that I am happy, and this will instill that if they continue this good behavior they will be rewarded.

If my 4-year-old is reaching for matches, I am going to yell.

This is an instance where my child would be putting himself/herself in danger and calmly explaining that what he or she is doing is wrong does not stress the severity of what they were about to do.

People have children to teach them, to raise them.

Parents cannot always be their kid’s best friend.

I think the point is to also guide them in the right direction.

Yelling at your child to keep them out of harms way is fine.

Yelling at your child for every little thing is not, and I think that when your child is repeatedly yelled at, then emotional problems can arise.

Your children should know that although you are their parents, you are also an authority figure in their lives.

If you do not yell at your children someone will one day.

There is a difference between verbal discipline and verbal abuse.

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