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  • Jonathan Shiek

Study Shows Smacking Your Kids Can Mess Up Their Brain Development

I’m sure many of us grew up at the hands of our parents, literally, because they actually smack you with their hands. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, consider yourselves lucky. The truth is, physical punishment is so common in Asian culture, there’s even a Chinese saying that loosely translates to “pain is love” which is often used to justify caning or spanking in Chinese households.

Well, as much as your Asian parents would want you to believe that the idea of physical punishment is “for your own good”, a recent study by Harvard University shows that spanking your kids may lead to the development of more mental-related problems.

Credits: Mashable SEA


The study, that was published in the Child Development journal, was conducted among 147 children between three and 11 years old. In particular, the study paid extra attention to those between the ages of 10 and 11 who had been spanked, but had not experienced any other forms of violence.

By scanning the respondent’s brains with an MRI machine, the researchers then observed and compared the brain activity between children who were spanked and those who weren’t. True enough, the results showed that spanking is bad for kids.

“Children who were spanked demonstrated greater activation in multiple regions of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) to fearful relative to neutral faces than children who were never spanked,” explained the researchers in their paper.

In fact, Katie A. McLaughlin, the co-author of the study from Harvard University’s Department of Psychology, even likened smacking or spanking to physical abuse. Which is worrying considering a separate study in 2017 found that children who were punished by spanking were more likely to display abusive tendencies towards their partners later in life.

So yes, physical punishment is definitely not the cure for mischievous children, instead it could very well be the poison. Regardless of what parenting methods you believe in, there should be a better way to educate and discipline your kids without resorting to physical punishment that are borderline abusive.

Stop smacking kids and telling them it’s “for their own good”. Pain isn’t love, it never should be.

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#braindevelopment #physicalpunishment #smacking

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