Children who are shouted at by their parents more likely to become depressed

A new study has found that parents who discipline their children by shouting at them could be causing more harm than good.

According to, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Michigan studied 967 mostly middle class families. They found that children who get shouted at by their parents are more likely to take part in problematic behaviour, such as stealing, lying and fighting, as well as show signs of depression.

Worryingly, 50 per cent of the parents surveyed said they had used severe forms of verbal discipline on their children, including swearing and name-calling.

The researchers suggest that parents talk to their children about their concerns and explain to them the consequences of their actions, instead of shouting at them.

Parents who are worried about their child's behaviour might benefit from speaking to a professional. For example, a counselling course can help parents and children to get to the bottom of their problems.

Lead researcher, Dr Ming-Te Wang, said: "The notion that harsh discipline is without consequence, once there is a strong parent-child bond-that the adolescent will understand that 'they're doing this because they love me'-is misguided because parents' warmth didn't lessen the effects of harsh verbal discipline."