Yelling at your rotten kids won't make them any less rotten—and might actually make things worse, a new study suggests. Researchers from the universities of Pittsburgh and Michigan found that 13-year-olds whose parents had used "harsh verbal discipline" on them tended to see a greater increase in behavior problems the next year, the Wall Street Journal reports. They also exhibited symptoms of depression. The jump was similar to that seen in kids who'd been spanked or otherwise physically disciplined.
The study, which was published yesterday by Child Development, followed 976 kids from age 13 to 14, surveying both the children and their parents. They found that the scolding-to-future-bad-behavior corollary held true no matter how warm the parent-child relationship was otherwise. "You feel a lot more responsible for your behavior when you're being corrected by someone you respect," explains one child psychiatrist not involved in the study. "Anything you do to berate or shame a kid erodes that power you have." And whatever you do, don't act like this guy.