Many parents hit their children more than they admit, new research shows.
The U.S. study revealed smacking children is surprisingly common and most parents do it more than they say.
But the research also showed that hitting children does not resolve any problems – as most start misbehaving again within 10 minutes.
Researchers at Southern Methodist University, in Dallas, placed voice recorders in the homes of 33 different families, Heath Day reports.
During the course of six days, the researchers say there were 41 occasions on which a child was smacked.
These occurred in 15 different families.
However, after about 75 per cent of the incidents, the child was misbehaving again within 10 minutes.
Lead researcher Dr George Holden said the results also showed that parents who shout a lot are more likely to hit their children.
He told Health Day: ‘Parents are hitting their children over trivial misdeeds and some of the mums are doing it a lot more than the self-report data has ever identified.
‘Recordings give us real-time information, which self-reports cannot.’
He added: ‘It doesn’t work. But more than that, it can result in behavioural problems like aggression, or anxiety and depression.’
Previous studies have revealed that smacking children can make them more aggressive and badly behaved.
Last year, research from the University of Michigan showed that smacking children results in poorer behaviour over time.
Another study, by researchers at Columbia University in New York, revealed children who are smacked as five-year-olds are slightly more likely to be aggressive and to break rules in primary school.
This research also showed that children who are smacked by their fathers when they are five score less well on vocabulary tests.