Spanking can harm the brain
Spanking is perceived by the brain as a threat and can create a toxic stress response. Toxic stress is serious. It can cause a negative cascading effect on brain development resulting in enduring harm to the child.
Spanking may reduce the brain’s grey matter, the connective tissue between brain cells. Grey matter is an integral part of the central nervous system and influences intelligence testing and learning abilities. It includes areas of the brain involved in sensory perception, speech, muscular control, emotions, and memory. Additional research supports the hypothesis that children and adolescents subjected to child abuse and neglect have less grey matter than children who have not been ill-treated. (according to a recent study)
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Martin Teicher, MD, PhD, a leading neuroscience researcher on early abuse and neglect and brain development speaks about his research on spanking and the brain.
In this research, harsh punishment was described as being spanked 12 times in a year, at least once with a spoon, belt, or some implement. Dr. Teicher found that these children had the same alterations in brain development as children who suffered overt physical abuse!