psychological effect of yelling at a child

What’s the psychological effect of yelling at a child?

Most parents yell at their children now and then due to sheer frustration, often followed by guilt, shame, and regret. But to the question we ask ourselves: is there any long-lasting psychological effect of yelling at a child?

What actually is happening for the child in the situation

Some parents feel that the only way to get their children to listen is to yell. It’s actually not true because we don’t listen more when someone raises their voice instead, we become alarmed and scared, which captures our attention.

When we perceive a threat in any form, our fight or flight system is activated or rather the more accurate term fight, flight, or freeze, which is possible reactions to a potential threat. When this happens, we stop thinking logically and act on reflexes and survival instincts. Many children freeze up with their eyes fixed on the yelling adult. This shouldn’t be mistaken for listening because it’s not the words we listen to, it’s the frightening situation.

Perhaps it sounds like an exaggeration, but if you know how our survival reflexes work, it’s not as illogical. Imagine sitting on the sofa, and we see something small crawling in the periphery of our

psychological effect of yelling at a child

eye, we probably jump up on the sofa, removing our feet from the floor with a raised heartbeat before even reflecting what it could be. Our survival instincts react before we can think logically. When we’ve identified it’s just a harmless spider, we can deal with it more suitably.

In other words, it doesn’t matter if your children usually know you wouldn’t harm them because they’re only reacting to a possible threat. And we’re not in listening mode when our survival instincts have kicked in.

When you start yelling I stop listening.

psychological effect of yelling at a child

The psychological effect of yelling at a child

There are several psychological effects of yelling at a child, and I’ll list them below.

  • Children become more aggressive, both verbally and physically, and behavior problems increases.
  • If yelling is regularly occurring, it becomes normal, which means the children expect the same treatment from others both in childhood and as adults in other relationships. Their threshold for others behaving aggressively and respectless is lower, which sets them up for relationships that may hurt them.
  • Their self-esteem and self-worth plummet since it’s developed in relations with others and what we perceive others think of us in our childhood.
  • They develop faulty beliefs about themselves. If yelling is regularly happening, they risk believing they do so much wrong that they need to be yelled at, that they are a person that can’t seem to do anything right and that they make other people angry. That they’re not good enough. That they always screw up. That they always anger and disappoint others.

These effects are just when a parent is yelling without shouting insults or degrading comments. However, if an adult also says hurtful comments, we can also add other aspects of psychological effects on yelling at a child.

  • It has been shown that there is a correlation between verbal abuse and later develop differents kinds of chronic painful conditions such as recurring headaches, back problems, and other forms of pain.
  • Psychological stress as children has been shown to lead to a heightened risk for autoimmune disorders, vascular diseases, and even premature death.
  • It can develop into depression.

Take responsibility for your behavior

Parenting is tough, and we all make mistakes but always remember to put the responsibility on the right person. Your child may not have listened or behaved wrongly, but that never excuses a parent’s behavior. If you regularly yell, it’s your responsibility to change it, not the child’s responsibility.

If you have yelled at your child, take a moment to reflect on what happened and why it happened. Explain to your child what happened, how you felt, and apologize for your behavior.

If you would want a helping hand to finally stop the yelling in your family, this is a course specifically aimed to help moms to stop yelling at their kids.

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