Is there any harmful effect of scolding kids. Also does that affect more to kids who are 1 year old or to those who are much older like 5 years and so.

By the term scolding I mean: Shouting, yelling, using intimidating gesture (staring with wide open eye), showing anger, using harsh words (irrespective of the fact the kids know the meaning of the word or not ), and like... and any of the combination of these. And even shouting and hitting with hands but very gently with anger

  • $\begingroup$ For me it does because the child, normally at age 5 or 1 wouldn't understand and take it really badly. Why? Because the child probably isn't used to the consequences. It may get confused and take it the wrong way. If you are somewhat an older child all that scolding has PROBABLY come to an end. The effects depend on the mood of the child. $\endgroup$
    – user13374
    Aug 7, 2016 at 1:49
  • $\begingroup$ Ofcourse scolding in terms of harsh words and harsh gesture will always be taken as hateful emotion. The child will steer away from emotionally and mentally. Very soon he will be doing exactly as he has experienced! Parents can however scold the child lovingly too. Yes, it is possible! You can show your child how sad you feel to see your child misbehave or how wonderful it could have been if the child would have listened to you! Give your child reasoning thats how they understand you better! Dont ignore their misbehaving guide them show them the difference..but do not scold them directly! $\endgroup$
    – user13999
    Oct 18, 2016 at 5:53

3 Answers 3


I have a feeling that many answers to your question will be influenced by anecdotes and personal parental style than actual research. A quick literature review suggests that there is evidence for both positive and negative influences of customary, nonabusive physical punishment, such as spanking.

A literature review by Larzelere (2000) found that nine studies indicated beneficial outcomes, such as reduced noncompliance and fighting. In contrast, five studies that controlled for the level of child misbehavior did find detrimental outcomes. However, a further analysis found that alternative forms of discipline also showed detrimental outcomes when using a similar research method. The author concludes that "The outcomes differ by methodologic, child, and subcultural factors as well as by how the physical punishment was used".

A later meta-analysis by Larzelere and Kuhn (2005) found that conditional spanking was more effective in reducing child noncompliance and antisocial behavior in 10 of 13 studies. They added that overly severe or predominant use of physical punishment "compared unfavorably with alternative disciplinary tactics". In short, there seems to be a threshold whereas some amount of scolding (physical spanking in this case) can be a beneficial tool in a parent's disciplinary toolkit, while excessive amounts of scolding (such as relying on spanking exclusively) can be detrimental.

  • Larzelere RE. (2000). Child Outcomes of Nonabusive and Customary Physical Punishment by Parents: An Updated Literature Review. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 3(4), 199-221.
  • Larzelere RE and Kuhn BR. (2005). Comparing Child Outcomes of Physical Punishment and Alternative Disciplinary Tactics: A Meta-Analysis. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 8(1), 1-37.
  • $\begingroup$ My main issue with the second link is: the table does not differentiate by the type of problematic behavior that called for disciplinary action. The available data is often biased ( it either focuses on positive effects or negative effects) I would like to see the ratio of positive and negative effect presented with respect to the behavior modification goal. Do we have any better study? $\endgroup$
    – Spero
    Oct 18, 2016 at 10:15

yes it does have harmful effects on the children regardless of their age. may be children dont understand the words but the understands the emotions and expression behind the words. anger is a universal expression which can be understand by everyone regardless of age. showing anger or scolding contributes to stubbornness in children and it also induce negative feelings in children for the person who scold. children also imitates their elders so they learn to show anger as u do by shouting yelling etc.

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    $\begingroup$ I generally agree with what you say, but what is your evidence to support these claims? The challenge on this site is to provide theoretical or research evidence to support such claims. $\endgroup$ Jun 15, 2013 at 4:23
  • $\begingroup$ For ethical reasons it is impossible to conduct an empirical study to test this hypothesis. You would have to randomly assign children to growing up with or without scolding. $\endgroup$
    – user3116
    Jun 18, 2013 at 10:12

Is there any harmful effect of scolding kids. Also does that affect more to kids who are 1 year old or to those who are much older like 5 years and so.

The simple answer is, "yes there can be harmful effects" and "yes younger kids are probably more affected."

Scolding and the perceptions by the child being scolded are both multivariate in nature. The act of scolding is multivariate because there can be multiple actions of differing intensities taking place during the scolding. No two scolding episodes are precisely alike. The perceptions of the child being scolded are very important. How does the child perceive the angry face or the raised spanking hand? Does the child experience intense fear that can have long-lasting effects? These are important questions.

The age of the child is important with regard to the child's perceptions. An older child getting spanked by his mom or yelled at by his mom might find it to be somewhat humorous. A much younger child, with much less life experience, could find the same scolding horrendous.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ It would be nice if you could support your claims with some kind of evidence and/or scientific references, as it is done for example in the upvoted answer here. $\endgroup$
    – awakenting
    Aug 14, 2016 at 21:01

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