It has been long argued that physically disciplining a child through means such as spanking or hitting is detrimental to the child's emotional development and well-being. But what about harsh verbal discipline? A study was recently released that found children are more prone to depression and behavior problems if their parents resort to shouting or swearing at them when they misbehave. The study, conducted by Dr. Ming-Te Wang at the University of Pittsburgh, looked at almost a thousand middle class two-parent families. The results clearly showed that harsh verbal discipline is not only ineffective, but can potentially exacerbate the child's issues.
Dogs, too, are detrimentally affected by harsh verbal discipline. Similar to a child becoming more delinquent if harsh punishment is used, dogs with aggressive tendencies will often become more aggressive if subjected to harsh, punitive training methods. Perhaps even worse, some dogs shut down completely as a result of harsh punishment, and enter a state of learned helplessness.
What we can all take away from this is a better understanding of how our children and our dogs learn. Harsh physical or verbal punishment simply does not effectively teach a child or a dog right from wrong. Hopefully, as studies like this one continue to come out, such methods will become a thing of the past.