As a parent, you are likely doing a good amount of yelling. If you turn things around and think about how you respond when your spouse, boss, or any other adult yells at you, it will be quite illuminating. Consider the following questions:

• When you are yelled at, do you respond to yelling warmly and positively, eager to grant every demand?

• Are you inwardly plotting how you’ll pay that so-and- so back?

• Do you feel a sense of inadequacy?

• Is it hard to let go of negative thoughts and feelings that arise after being yelled at?

By reading through and reflecting on these questions, you’ve gotten an up close and personal perspective on what it’s like to be on the receiving end of the negative impact of yelling. As you can see, yelling harms your child’s feelings about himself. The bottom line is that it’s important to think about how often you shout at your children, what you say, and what else is happening in their lives. I have summarized below the reasons yelling is troublesome to defiant children.


Dr. Jeffrey Bernstein is a psychologist with over 23 years of experience specializing in child, adolescent, couples, and family therapy. He holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the State University of New York at Albany and completed his post-doctoral internship at the University of Pennsylvania Counseling Center. He has appeared on the Today Show, Court TV as an expert advisor, CBS Eyewitness News Philadelphia, 10! Philadelphia—NBC, and public radio. Dr. Bernstein has authored four books, including the highly popular 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child (Perseus Books, 2006), 10 Days to a Less Distracted Child (Perseus Books 2007), Why Can't You Read My Mind? , andLiking the Child You Love, Perseus Books 2009).

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