The Effects of Yelling on Students/Children.
How Does Yelling hurt children’s mental health? Here are the facts!
Studies on human attachment have proven that children thrive when they feel safe, loved, and composed. Kids are often exposed to a lot of yelling continuously in schools, and at home. They easily feel stressed, anxious, and frightened because stress in their brains and bodies builds up from anything that makes them feel attacked.
Sometimes, there is a fine line between being a strict parent or a teacher and verbally abusing a child.
Loud voices, the harsh tone of the adult’s voice, angry look in their eyes, the critical and scornful facial expression, and more, often trigger automatic emotional and physical reactions that cause traumatic stress to a child.
Yelling Increases Risk of Depression and Worsens the Misbehavior
According to a recent study, yelling aggravates undesired behaviors such as disobedience and aggression and may lead to mental health problems. The disciplinary techniques that include yelling and humiliation can increase a child’s risk for depression and aggressive behavior.
Moreover, the results of this study suggest that yelling may have the same impact on children as physical punishment. For example, yelling at teenagers hurts their self-image and confidence, making them feel worthless and incapable.
Yelling may make children’s understanding of healthy personal boundaries and self-worth distorted, making them prone to bullying.
Also, screaming that includes verbal insults can be qualified as emotional abuse that has long-term effects such as increased aggression, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.
Raising Your Voice Affects the Children’s Brain Development
Research by psychiatrists at Harvard Medical School showed that yelling and verbal humiliation can permanently alter the brain structure in children.
Comparing the brains of healthy children to those who received psychiatric treatment, the researchers found that in the second group of children verbal discipline, punishment, and abandonment caused a significant reduction of the corpus callosum.
This structure in the brain joints the two hemispheres, integrating its motor, cognitive, and sensory performances. Research showed that a lower integration of the two sides of the brain leads to significant changes in a child’s personality and mood.
Furthermore, when a child feels threatened, their stress response systems get activated, preparing the body to respond to a threat by increasing stress hormones such as cortisol, as well as heart rate and blood pressure.
If the stress response is extreme or long-lasting, a child’s stress response system can be damaged and weakened.
Yelling Makes You a Bad Role Model
Children rely on their parents, teachers, and other important adults for learning. If yelling is part of what child perceives as “normal” aspect of communication, their behavior in childhood and adulthood will reflect that.
Switching from a yelling monologue to a respectful dialogue when dealing with problematic behaviors will teach children how to resolve conflicts constructively and communicate in a healthy and productive way.
The Alternatives to Yelling
Being aware of your own behavior, paying attention to your tone of voice, choice of words, and body language when disciplining a child can go a long way. Here are some things that can help children feel safe and secure.
Practice Emotional Control
Learn how to manage your emotions when feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. If you often experience intense feelings of anger, frustration, and resentment, create a daily routine of working on your feelings.
Relaxation techniques and mindfulness meditation can be of great help. However, you can always reach out for mental health counseling to help you strengthen your coping skills and enhance emotional control.
Talk about Emotions
Talking about your own and the children’s feelings can help them feel accepted, understood, and loved. Teach the children to pay attention to their feelings, acknowledge them, and take responsibility for how they feel.
Help them understand that it is okay to feel sad, angry, or afraid and how to express their feelings constructively.
Also, teach the children to differentiate between feelings and behavior and to verbalize their emotions. Kids usually struggle to understand the difference between feeling angry and aggressive behavior, so helping them understand that they are in control of their actions is very important.
Talking about your feelings and encouraging the children to do the same will help them develop into healthy adults and build positive relationships in life.
Address the Problematic Behavior Calmly but Firmly
An occasional bad behavior is a normal part of growing up. However, it is essential to talk to children calmly but firmly when they misbehave to help them understand that certain behaviors are not tolerated. At the same time, don’t forget to acknowledge when they act respectfully.
Offer Consequences When Necessary
Offer positive consequences for desired behaviors and negative consequences when children break the rules. For example, positive consequences, such as a reward system or token economy system, can motivate children to use their anger management skills when they are upset.
Also, don’t hesitate to follow through with immediate consequences if the child becomes aggressive. Some of the most effective consequences may include time-out or loss of privileges.
It may not matter how good your self-control is, everyone raises their voice sometimes, and that is okay. However, if you apologize for your behavior, your children/students will understand that we all make mistakes and need to apologize when we do. Also, try to model respectful and patient behavior for your kids allowing yourself a time-out before talking to them when you are upset.
This will teach your children that respect, forgiveness, and self-control are essential tools for healthy communication and strong relationships.