Wednesday, December 11th, 2013
As exasperating as parenting teenagers can be, new research is showing that yelling or shouting at them, or threatening them verbally, can have a negative impact on the teens’ overall mental health. More from Reuters:
“The take home point is that the verbal behaviors matter,” Annette Mahoney, who worked on the study, said. She’s a professor of psychology at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
“It can be easy to overlook that, but our study shows that the verbal hostility is really relevant, particularly for mothers who scream and hit, and for fathers who do either one,” Mahoney told Reuters Health.
All of the kids in her study had been referred to a community clinic due to mental health or behavioral problems.
Their mothers had to be both verbally and physically abusive to increase the kids’ risk for depression and behavior issues. But either kind of behavior alone from a father was sufficient to produce lasting ill effects.
The researchers realize that parents can be trapped in a vicious cycle.
Verbal abuse “has a cyclical nature to it,” said Mahoney. Kids with behavioral or mental health problems can be tough to handle, she said.
Image: Parent and teenager arguing, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, November 7th, 2013
During an appearance on the OWN Networks’ “Where Are They Now?” program, former reality star Jon Gosselin shared that his eight children have faced “developmental issues” throughout their young lives. Kate Gosselin, Jon’s ex-wife and former co-star of their hit show “Jon and Kate Plus Eight,” is fighting back in online statements, claiming that her ex-husband’s claims have no merit. More from Today.com:
On the OWN show that aired Sunday, Jon, when talking about how being featured “Jon & Kate” impacted his family, said, “I saw my kids not growing up normally. … Developmentally, they have problems with their peers … with wants and needs, and manners and morals and what’s right and what’s wrong, of course. I think more so than someone who grows up off TV.”
Kate countered his claim in her blog post, writing, “Each and every one of our children has met and continues to exceed all physical, mental and emotional developmental milestones throughout their lives. Their normal development is regularly monitored by myself, their pediatrician and school staff, as is usual with any family.”
As for adding fuel to this most recent fire, Kate explained that she’s speaking out against her ex, who is working as a waiter, because, “I want to be able to point them to this statement so that they know that I publicly set the record 100 percent straight on this one, for their sake.”
But Kate has admitted to TODAY in the past that two of her children have had anger issues. “They were acting out, having behavior things,” she said in 2010, a year after her divorce from Jon.
The mom of eight is currently involved in a lawsuit against her ex, claiming that he hacked her phone and computer to gain access to information for an author who was writing a tell-all book about her.
Image: Kate Gosselin, via s_bukley / Shutterstock.com
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Friday, August 2nd, 2013
Significantly more girls than boys have committed an act of physical violence when dating, according to a longitudinal study presented this week at the American Psychological Association’s annual meeting. More from NBC News:
For her study, Dorothy Espelage, professor of educational psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and her colleagues conducted a longitudinal study among 625 students starting in grades 5, 6, and 7, and followed them over a period of four years. Researchers interviewed the students at intervals over that time.
The study looked at a spectrum of behaviors, ranging from name calling and expressing anger, spreading rumors, and using controlling behaviors such as keeping track of dating partners, to physical violence such as slapping, hitting and biting, and sexual violence including forced kissing. Taken as a whole, one in three reported being the victim of at least one of the behaviors on that spectrum.
While most of us may not rank name-calling, or bad-mouthing another to their friends as “violence,” the researchers say they included the psychological and relationship tactics because they can have a profound impact.
“We see in other research that the psychological stuff has just as much of a negative impact on health outcomes as the physical and sexual” violence, said Carlos Cuevas, associate professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University, who is also presenting a study on youth dating violence at meeting.
Image: Teen couple arguing, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, July 5th, 2012
Teenagers almost universally wrestle with angst, moodiness, and anger, but a new study has found that as many as 1 in 12 American adolescents may suffer from an anger disorder called intermittent explosive disorder (IED). From CNN.com:
Study author Katie McLaughlin, a clinical psychologist and psychiatric epidemiologist, says IED is one of the most widespread mental health disorders – and one of the least studied.
“There’s a contrast between how common the disorder is and how much we know about it,” she said.
IED is characterized by recurrent episodes of aggression that involve violence, a threat of violence and/or destruction of property, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It often begins around the age of 12, but scientists don’t know whether it continues into adulthood. (A similar study which focused on adults found 7.2% met the criteria for IED).
“Intermittent explosive disorder is as real or unreal as many psychiatric disorders,” wrote CNN’s mental health expert Dr. Charles Raison in an e-mail. “There are people who get really pissed off really quick and then regret it, just as there are people who get unreasonably sad and depressed. In both cases, but especially with [IED], it’s really just a description of how people behave.”
In this large study, researchers authors interviewed 6,483 adolescents and surveyed their parents. They excluded anyone who had another mental health disorder, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder(ODD) or conduct disorder (CD).
Of the teenage participants, 7.8% reported at least three IED anger attacks during their life. More than 5% had at least three attacks in the same year.
Image: Angry teenager, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, December 6th, 2011
In a groundbreaking new study published in the journal Emotion, scientists studied high-quality audio recordings of over 100 toddlers having temper tantrums, and discovered that the emotional outbursts familiar to every parent actually have predictable rhythms and patterns that, when properly understood, can help parents, teachers, and caregivers tell the difference between a “normal” tantrum, and a sign of an emotional or behavioral disorder.
The scientists then analyzed the audio. They found that different tantrum sounds had very distinct audio signatures. When the sounds were laid down on a graph, the researchers found that different sounds emerged and faded in a definite pattern. Unsurprisingly, sounds like yelling and screaming usually came together.
“Screaming and yelling and kicking often go together,” Potegal said. “Throwing things and pulling and pushing things tend to go together. Combinations of crying, whining, falling to the floor and seeking comfort — and these also hang together.”
But where one age-old theory of tantrums might suggest that meltdowns begin in anger (yells and screams) and end in sadness (cries and whimpers), Potegal found that the two emotions were more deeply intertwined.
“The impression that tantrums have two stages is incorrect,” Potegal said. “In fact, the anger and the sadness are more or less simultaneous.”
Green and Potegal found that sad sounds tended to occur throughout tantrums. Superimposed on them were sharp peaks of yelling and screaming: anger.
The trick in getting a tantrum to end as soon as possible, Potegal said, was to get the child past the peaks of anger. Once the child was past being angry, what was left was sadness, and sad children reach out for comfort. The quickest way past the anger, the scientists said, was to do nothing. Of course, that isn’t easy for parents or caregivers to do.
Image: Toddler having a tantrum, via Shutterstock.
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