Verbal Discipline is Verbal Abuse

Parents only want the best for their kids.  Parents thought they need to discipline their children to be good and responsible strictly.   Disciplining is good, but sometimes the method of disciplining their kids are not the right and effective one. According to Ron Huxley, LMFT, “Discipline is about teaching or guiding children in the right direction so that they can be responsible people.”


Why do parents often shout?



As most kids start to misbehave, get out of control, and become hard-headed, parents feel disappointment.   They shout and yell which they consider as a verbal discipline.  This is their way to get their children’s attention to stop. “Any time someone yells or curses at you, this is a display of power and the goal is to control and intimidate you into submission,” licensed marriage and family therapist Alisa Ruby Bash, PsyD, says. To parents, it’s a form of disciplining their kids without needing to hurt them physically, so they will not cause any wound.  They never did suspect that harsh verbal discipline may leave the same scar as spanking or hitting them does.   Little by little, they are leaving marks of emotional injury that may take longer to heal if they will ever heal.  


Stress, anger, and disappointments are often the reason why parents are using harsh verbal words.    


When Does Verbal Discipline Become Verbal Abuse?

“The easiest way to describe verbal abuse is verbal bullying that creates emotional pain and mental anguish in the person it’s being done to,” says Eris Huemer, PsyD. Let’s face it, no parents don’t get stressed when raising a child.  Parents, at one point in their parenting lives, will shout and yell at their kids.  This is to get their children’s attention, point out what wrong they have done, and sometimes it’s the parents’ strategy to emphasize their anger.  It’s okay.   

But after voicing out your anger, breathe deeply and then calmly explain to them why you shout at them.  Failing to do so turn your outburst into verbal abuse, no longer an act of discipline.  The child will not be able to process his thought on what you really mean but just leave marks of hatred.  


Lasting Effects of verbal abuse on children

At first, it may just be simple yelling but once it became a habit, it will worsen and will get out of control.   This may cause your kids to develop behavioral problems.  


Children who suffer from verbal abuse often develop fears.   As the child gets out of the house, he may find himself unable to defend himself from other’s attacks.  They even find it hard to connect with their parents and may soon find themselves estranged from them.   The idea of verbal discipline is unacceptable to them that anger towards parents develops.  Feeling unloved and unwanted, they will develop depression and anger.   Unnoticeably, these kids are becoming the verbally abusive parents they hate.  They may even end up abusive to themselves.   Worse, they may end up becoming abusive parents as well.   


Harsh Verbal Discipline Doesn’t Help

No parents mean to harm their children.   They may have the best intention but not the right method.   Harsh verbal words when left unprocessed are verbal abuse.  It’s not healthy and helpful in rearing and nurturing your kids.  

The name calling, shouting, mouthing bad words, criticisms, threats of leaving, blaming, mocking remarks are hurting words, and to your kids, this means you don’t love them.  These very words leave deep scars on their whole being while you are shaping their future.   What beautiful future is there when you have dug a black hole in your children’s hearts leaving them feeling unloved and unsupported.   


Some parents sometimes find it hard to say encouraging words to their kids but harsh words easily come out of their mouth automatically.    


This is a wake-up call to parents who often yell at their kids.   There are ways to talk to your kids without hurting them big time.