We’ve known for some time that extremely strict discipline is bad for children: the more severe the discipline at home is, the more likely that the children themselves will turn into bad parents with antisocial and aggressive behavior. Now, a new study conducted by the University of Montreal has provided another reason why too much discipline may be bad: screaming, slapping and whipping can actually alter a child’s brain from fear.
Researchers at the University of Montreal linked above, together with the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center have published their study here. It concludes that not only does extreme discipline hurt children, but more deeply, it can actually change the way their brain faces fear.
“We already knew that childhood adversity could have many negative psychological and social consequences,“ says Valérie La Buissonnière-Ariza, one of the authors of the study. “We wanted to examine other more benign bad practices, but quite common and even more acceptable, such as screaming, slapping or shaking,” he says.
The study was supervised by Franco Lepore (a professor of psychology at the University of Montreal) and the psychologist Francoise Maheu (affiliated with CHU Sainte-Justine). They analyzed 84 different children aged between thirteen and sixteen, and divided them into four groups according to the severity of discipline they had between the years of two to nine.
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