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Study: Yelling at kids more likely to create a repeat of bad behavior

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.

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About the Author


Sandra moved from the small border city of Yuma, Arizona to study Broadcast Journalism at Arizona State University in the late 90s. Since graduating, she's worked at several local TV stations including Univision, Fox 10 and 3TV.

Working at KTAR, has allowed her the opportunity to cover major national news events, including Presidential visits, the Tucson Tragedy and the Wallow fire.

When Sandra isn't covering breaking news or behind a microphone in the studio, she's probably at home with her best friend Mark and her two dogs, Lily and Lola.

Sandra enjoys cooking and admits to enjoying "really bad" reality T.V. She also enjoys spending quiet time at home with people she loves, playing a little poker and traveling.

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