Scolding harms children - study, October 1, 2002

COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- Verbal abuse meted out by parents to misbehaving children could be as harmful as beating, according to new Danish research.

The study, carried out at the Danish Centre for Research in Institutions, was conducted to further investigate the effects of scolding on children.

The findings, released on Tuesday, found that children who were shouted at saw little difference between that and parental smacking.

Erik Sigsgaard, the researcher who carried out the survey, explained: "The feeling of self respect is hurt when you are punished in one way or another.

"You can't say that it's better to scold your child than to beat it. When you punish a child you give it the feeling that it isn't worth anything," Sigsgaard told Reuters.

Psychologists have long known that children who have been beaten are more likely to suffer low self-esteem and insecurity later on in life, but little research has been done into the effects of scolding.

For this study children at a nursery were observed and interviewed in a period from 1994 to 2002. More than 50 percent said they hated being shouted at and thought the grown-up was still angry with them long afterwards.

Instances of smacking have declined among many parents, with scolding being the preferable way to discipline naughty children. However, one boy from the survey described scolding as when somebody beats you with his voice.

The United Nations' child rights convention states that children have the right to protection from physical and psychological violence and abuse.

Sigsgaard advised parents to tell their children their opinion in a normal voice rather than shouting.

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