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Have you been yelled at in your place of work, when driving, or at home? How did it feel? Now imagine how your kid feels when you frequently scream at them? When you yell at your kids, this could not only hurt their feelings but has more effects than this. Research shows that when you frequently shout at your kid, it may shrink their brain in their teenage years. Harsh parenting is a form of more severe abuse and is commonly tolerated the world over; it’s a shame.


Depression and Anxiety Among Adolescents


According to studies, children who have faced severe abuse during their upbringing present with smaller amygdala and prefrontal cortexes. These are vital brain structures that regulate an individual’s depression and anxiety. The effects surpass just the changes in the brain. Sabrina Suffrena is a lead author and professor at Université de Montréal in Canada. Says Parents and guardians should understand that using harsh words on kids harms their social and emotional development. Other child abuses like sexual abuse, emotional and physical abuse, neglect, and institutionalization later brings about depression and anxiety in a child’s life. 


Effects on the Brain Structures


The said brain structures were smaller among adolescents subjected to frequent harsh parenting practices while growing up, even if they did not experience severe child abuse like sexual and physical torture. 


A study by the Quebec Statistical Institute and the Research Unit on Children’s Psychosocial Maladjustment (GRIP) was conducted among children in the early 2000s. It evaluated parenting styles and child anxiety. The kids between the ages of two and nine were then grouped based on their high or low exposure to repeated harsh parenting. 


Sabrina Suffrena and her colleagues assessed their anxiety and performed anatomical MRIs when they were between the ages of 12 and 16. The research was conducted at the CHU Sainte Justine Research Centre and Université de Montréal in partnership with Stanford University researchers. They discovered the links between harsh parenting and children’s anxiety. Comprehensive findings of the research are published in the journal Development and Psychology.