I have always had problems with scolding as a form of negative reinforcement. Contrary to popular belief that it is important to admonish if someone commits a mistake, I believe there are more patient ways to deal with an errant child, student, or any person.
Scolding does not deter people from repeating the same mistakes. It will only ensure that they will not let you know whenever it is repeated. There have to be discussions, maybe elaborate ones so that they understand where they went wrong and why they should not repeat it. Reprimanding might avoid the recurrence of the error, but it might be out of fear more than realization. It is a common tactic used by many people when it is difficult to console someone who is depressed. When initial consolation does not help much, they speak rather rudely or harshly so that the person is forced to become ‘alright’ again. I fail to understand what purpose does it serve, except instilling fear, dislike, and sometimes even hatred.
On a personal note, I thought of this today because someone I love a lot scolded me a lot yesterday. I do not doubt his intentions and I am aware that he has my best interests at heart. But words, like accidents, leave scars. A few days from now, that conversation will not matter anymore; but I will never be able to forget the harsh words he told me. I will think twice before letting him know when something happens because I will be reminded of this day. I will prefer dying to hearing such hurtful things again.
I think of my father and how patiently he handles me. I trouble him the most, but not for once have I seen him lose his temper with me. He explains things to me over and over again, giving me hope when I least expect it. He has never scolded me for being sad. I feel so grateful to him for all his affection, love, and most importantly, patience.
Scolding is not the right thing to do, especially when someone is depressed. It does not help. Please do not take it up as a tactic or anything else. If someone seems inconsolable, please be a little more sensitive and try again. And if you have lost patience, give up. But don’t get mad at people for being upset, sad or depressed. Don’t be rude or harsh because people are more vulnerable during their worst days. Maybe they need some more time. Your words can harm as well as heal; please don’t do more harm than good.
Signing off with this pearl of wisdom from Dumbledore: