Teenagers react badly to verbal hostility from fathers and become less helpful at home and with strangers.

Child and Family Blog recently conducted research on 500 adolescents talking separately with both their mum and dad at home.

They found when dad showed hostility for example, shouting, being critical, disapproving or rejecting, teenage behaviour toward family members and strangers, it tended to grow worse. That didn’t happen when mothers were hostile.

It shows when dad plays this role in a heavy-handed way, it turns teenagers off from being helpful at home and with strangers. In contrast, when mum loses her cool with the kids, they don’t tend to react negatively in this way.

“It’s really important for dads to be kind and gentle to their children. Forget traditional messages urging you to be the harsh disciplinarian. Forget ‘Wait till your father gets home.’ Hostility from dad tends to result in negative outcomes,” writes Child and Family blog.

Our message to dads is that it’s really important to be kind and gentle with older children – even gentler sometimes than mum. Forget traditional messages urging you to be the harsh disciplinarian. Forget ‘Wait till your father gets home.’ Hostility from dad tends to produce negative outcomes.

Speaking from experience

I can totally relate to this. The tween (12) of our house gets very standoffish if dad asks him to do a chore or picks him up on poor attitude etc. But if I ask myself he is much more approachable and even though often sullen he still gets in and does what is asked of him. It can be quite exhausting to be honest.

I have often wondered why he rebelled more against his father. This explains a lot!

I must admit though, I do hate it when I hear hubby yell at the kids. BUT if I do it, then that’s a different story. Double standards I know!

Have you had a similar experience?

Share your comments below.

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  • Not all Dads yell at their kids. I know of a few families where the Mum yells louder than the Dad ever does. I have on many occasions seen a kid (even a 3 or 4 y.o. misbehave when they are behind Mum and know she can’t possibly be watching them eg. cooking some on the hot-top. I have witnessed it many times when visiting other peoples’ homes. (my nieces did it). If Dad sees it is he supposed to say nothing to the child at all. Consistent discipline is very important.


  • Discipline is a joint effort from day 1
    both parents need to discipline the child and there is no way I would let a child or teenager get away with bad behaviour and neither should their father. consistency in discipline from the beginning is what is important.


  • This is my life right now. My 9yo vs my husband, and its so very frustrating.
    I am trying to explain/tell my hubby that he needs to be more patient, and talk first, not yell straight off the bat. I am now getting so frustrated and anxious about their relationship that I am going off at my husband. He just doesnt get it and I am so scared that this will drive a wedge between them, and eventually hubby and myself, that can’t be fixed.


  • I see this now with miss 3. So I. Can totally see how it will be when she is older


  • I’d love to know why this is… I do more of the discipline, but the kids know punishments will usually be agreed by mum and dad.


  • I think both parents need to be involved in setting rules and discipline but being at home all day with kids and hubby working, it’s me who deals with it on a daily basis and he is a lot more calmer when dealing with misbehaviour or rule breaking.


  • Fortunately my husband is a very kind gentle man and when it comes to discipline I will be the one who sets the rules and my husband backs me up. This article reassures me that we are hopefully doing the right thing.


  • A very interesting read… I can kind of see this now & she’s only 4! Oh & I also like the comment about hating to hear hubby yell, but it’s ok for me… definitely double standard, but true.


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