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PHOENIX -- Dealing with teens is not an easy task, especially when it comes to discipline. A new study out of the University of Pittsburgh suggests that harshly yelling at your kids, swearing or calling them names puts them at greater risk for repeating bad behavior and becoming addressed.

The study says that a majority of parents that most parents will use "harsh verbal discipline," but there hasn't been any studies to suggest what effect it has on adolescents in particular.

University researchers discovered, " adolescents who had experienced harsh verbal discipline suffered from increased levels of depressive symptoms, and were more likely to demonstrate behavioral problems such as vandalism or antisocial and aggressive behavior. Authors also found that the negative effects of verbal discipline within the two-year period of their study were comparable to the effects shown over the same period of time in other studies that focused on physical discipline."

"That's absolutely true," said Phoenix Clinical psychologist Melissa Estavillo. "When kids are told they are bad, terrible, ugly, stupid. Those are they things I think children internalize so deeply and carry for the rest of their lives," she added.

Estavillo added that the best way to change and motivate behavior is actually positive encouragement.

"When you praise and highlight things like good grades, that makes it much more likely to increase that behavior than punishment ever would," said Estavillo.

Sandra Haros , Reporter

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