Parental Tongue-Lashing Aggravates Teen Misbehavior

Parental Tongue-Lashing Aggravates Teen Misbehavior

Yelling at or insulting a child also linked to increase in depressive symptoms

FRIDAY, Sept. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Harsh verbal discipline of children at age 13 by parents is linked with an increase in adolescent conduct problems and depressive symptoms, according to research published online Sept. 4 in Child Development.

Ming-Te Wang, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh, and Sarah Kenny, of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, used cross-lagged modeling of data from a sample of 976 two-parent families and their children (51 percent males; 54 percent European-American; 40 percent African-American) to examine the association between harsh verbal discipline from mothers and fathers and conduct problems and depressive symptoms in adolescents.

The researchers found that maternal and paternal harsh verbal discipline of a child at age 13 was linked to an increase in conduct problems and depressive symptoms between ages 13 and 14. A reciprocal effect occurred, and misconduct at age 13 was linked to an increase in severe parental verbal discipline of the child between ages 13 and 14. These longitudinal associations were not mitigated by maternal and paternal warmth.

"This is one of the first studies to indicate that parents' harsh verbal discipline is damaging to the developing adolescent," Wang said in a statement.

Abstract (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cdev.12143/abstract )Full Text (subscription or payment may be required) (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cdev.12143/full )