…Researchers say physical punishment actually alters the brain — not only in an “I’m traumatized” kind of way but also in an “I literally have less gray matter in my brain” kind of way.
“Exposing children to HCP (harsh corporal punishment) may have detrimental effects on trajectories of brain development,” one 2009 study concluded. (Click for link to the study abstract).
Harsh corporal punishment in the study was defined as at least one spanking a month for more than three years, frequently done with objects such as a belt or paddle. Researchers found children who were regularly spanked had less gray matter in certain areas of the prefrontal cortex that have been linked to depression, addiction and other mental health disorders, the study authors say.
The researchers also found “significant correlations” between the amount of gray matter in these brain regions and the children’s performance on an IQ test. (READ MORE)
The Theology of the Body reminds us that God’s plan for relationships is encoded in the design of our bodies. The more we understand how God designed the human body to work, the more we see that gentle discipline (e.g, teaching skills, redirection, teaching the positive opposite, logical consequences, rapport building/discipling) is most consistent with God’s plan for child-rearing. For more information on how the Theology of the Body can help you raise healthy, happy, holy kids and get more joy out of parenting, check out Parenting with Grace: The Catholic Parents’ Guide to Raising (almost) Perfect Kids.