According to research by Harvard, published in the journal Child Development. Beating or spanking may affect a child’s brain development the same ways more severe forms of violence affects the brain.
The researchers found that children who had been spanked had a greater neural response in multiple regions of the prefrontal cortex (PFC), including in regions that are part of the salience network.
The study shows that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems. However, some parents do not think about spanking as a form of violence. According to Katie A. McLaughlin, John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology, and the senior researcher on the study, corporal punishment has been linked to the development of mental health issues, anxiety, depression, behavioral problems, and substance use disorders.
The researchers sounded a note of caution that corporal punishment does not impact every child the same way, and children can be resilient if exposed to potential adversities.
But the important message is that corporal punishment is a risk that can increase potential problems for children’s development, and following a precautionary principle, parents and policymakers should work toward trying to reduce its prevalence.” we’re hopeful that this finding may encourage families not to use this strategy, and that it may open people’s eyes to the potential negative consequences of corporal punishment in ways they haven’t thought of while disciplining their children