Parents get physical with unruly children far more in public than they do when they know psychologists or other researchers are looking, a new study finds.
In an experiment that involved surreptitiously watching parents discipline their kids in public places such as restaurants, researchers found that in 23% of cases, mom or dad resorted to "negative touch" to get their child to comply. Negative touch can include anything from restraining and spanking to pinching and hitting.
The findings suggest that most social science research in parenting misses out on these sorts of incidents, study researcher Kathy Stansbury, a professor of human development and family studies at Michigan State University, said in a statement.
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