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Yelling at Kids Is Counterproductive, Study Says

Mother Shouting At Young Children
Photograph by Getty Images/iStockphoto

You're sleep deprived, hungry and to top it off, little Billy is misbehaving.

We understand: You want to break down and cry or just yell. Sure, shouting might make you feel better now or make him stop whatever it is that he's doing, but it definitely won't help you down the road.

A new study by the London School of Economics reported that excessive shouting, or on the other end of the spectrum, ignoring bad behaviors, was counterproductive when it came to preventing that behavior later.

Instead, researchers found that "reasoning with children was more likely to have a positive impact on their behavior." While that's not really a huge surprise, there is a caveat: The study's leaders warned that it was difficult to establish whether there was a direct link in parenting style or if other factors like social class played a bigger role in the results.

Wealthier parents were more likely to reason with their children, but they also encouraged healthy habits like a nutritious diet, consistent bedtimes and physical exercise. On the other hand, children in lower-income households were "more affected by their mother's parenting style."

The study looked at 19,000 children born in the early 2000s. The data was collected at multiple points in time (from their first birthday, to when they were 3, 5 and 7).

While the results aren't entirely conclusive, they do tell us that no matter what, it is always best to be calm and collected when talking with your kids—even if they did write on the walls with permanent marker.

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