Most mothers will raise their voice in an effort to control their child’s behaviour, at some point in their parenting lives. The yelling can get very nasty or even out of hand. You may end up getting angry when your child ignores you and many will swear or name call. This can have a negative impact on your child’s future.
Children are universally alike, and there is no way that they will act like angels everyday just because you yell. It has been previously noted that yelling at your child is almost as bad as spanking – even though no real evidence is available to further substantiate this finding.
However, a recent study has conclusively shown that mothers who yell at their children contribute to their children being less intelligent.
The research studied two groups of mothers/caregivers and their children who were between the ages of 3 and 5 years at the time. Children from different day care centers and preschools in the St Louis area were carefully chosen for the experiment. A screening checklist was used to sample the children. Variables such as gender, age, and parental income were examined separately. Those with neurological or chronic medical problems or significant developmental delays were excluded.
The children and caregivers were put in a deliberately frustrating situation and left in a small room with shiny packages on the table. They were told they could only open the packages once the forms were filled. The children of course could not help themselves and kept trying to see what was in the bags at the onset.
Based on the responses of the caregivers, they were categorized into two groups. Half of the caregivers in one group would either ignore or harshly scold their children, while the other half was more nurturing and patiently explained to their children why they could not open the packages. The events were used as a starting point for the researchers and many other factors such as medication use, traumatic life events and maternal history of depression over several years were taken into account.
The children and their parents were assessed at four-six annual waves before the time of the MRI scan. After several years everyone was brought back for an MRI Scan. By then the children were between the ages of 7 and 13 years.
Patient mothers help their child’s brain develop
The study showed that the children with the nurturing mothers/caregivers had a larger hippocampus (area of the brain that controls short term and long term memory). They had almost ten percent more memory, than those with harsher mothers.
This research was concluded by including other variables such as medication history of the caregivers, to assess if this had any effects in the outcomes. The study concluded that even only yelling can slow intellectual development of the child, and lead to aggressive behaviour as they grow older.
Additionally, the study also looked at a small group of premature infants. The study demonstrated that early environmental enhancement in the neonatal intensive care unit in hospitals was associated with positive changes in their brains. Conclusively this shows that massive TLC (tender love and care), and a loving and healthy environment all have a huge impact on the health as well as behaviour of children.
“It is to our knowledge the first study that links early maternal nurturance to the structural development of a key brain region. It provides very powerful evidence of the importance of early nurturing for healthy brain development, and has tremendous public health implications “, said the study’s author Dr Joan Luby, a professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine.
Yelling, a definite No- No!
There you have it moms, yelling has no positive outcomes and it is not a form of discipline. It is rather a way to punish — which leaves the child feeling bad and thus lowers their self esteem. According to experts, discipline does not involve yelling but correcting and explaining to your child no matter how old. Yelling may seem harmless but besides its impact on development it can scar your children and make them depressed and angry adults. Some of the children who experience harsh scolding and yelling are also more likely to bully other children.
With that said the researchers noted that yelling or loss of temper once in a long while does not have an effect in shrinking the hippocampus. Another important thing to note as well is that being patient will not increase your child’s intelligence, but will help develop their already growing brain. Therefore try to limit shouting at your child as much as possible, until you gradually stop.
Impatience not only has an effect on your child, but is detrimental to your health too.
Ways to Calm Down
- Think before you react – Taking a few deep breaths before reacting is always a good way to ensure that you do not yell. Assess the situation and find the best solution and not the impulsive one.
- Be Selfish – Mothers who take time off to pamper themselves and just be away from their children for a while are better able to handle situations afterwards.
- Play Dates – Do not be shy to ask for help from family members and friends. This can also be done indirectly by planning play dates. This will give you lots of time to do other things.
- Sleep – Exhaustion often contributes to frustration and impatience, so ensure that you get to sleep for at least 7-9 hours. Let daddy wake up early for a change, or better yet, take turns.
- Pay for help – find a babysitter to help you out occasionally so you can have a girl’s night out or dinner with your husband.
- Finally Pick your Fights – Don’t let everything your child’s does get to you. Sometimes it is okay to let go and let your children be for a little while.