My views and practices have changed on spanking over the 23 years I have been a father.
Growing up I experienced and witnessed 3 types of physical discipline.
The 1st we can call the Terror Type. This was my drunk mother's way of dealing with children. She would pick up this massive ash-tray she hovered over while she consumed vodka, and threaten to split my head open with it. She never did, but I was never certain what kind of new hell she was capable of that particular day. She was also habitual about swearing she was about to throw us down the stairs to the basement....again still here....but it scared the hell out of me for along time.
The next type was what I to this day considered basically Appropriate. I got the message quick at the private school I attended around 5th grade. That boat paddle over the principals desk really had a practical purpose. Never did that again! Then there was my grandfather. A very religious, hard working and charitable man. He never tried very hard to fill in for the father who was in prison, but the memories are good. One afternoon I was riding my tricycle on the sidewalk along side the garage. I was probably about 5 or 6. He had just planted some vegtables near the edge of the sidewalk. He said "don't ride off the sidewalk, be careful of the plants", I heard. "Ride straight through that row of veggies", he reached down and gave me one whack to my ass. I was certainly ashamed of myself, but I have no memory of physical pain at all. When I looked up he was wiping away a tear. I never intentionally wanted to cause him to be sad again, and didn't until I became an adult. Grandma never physically disciplined me that I remember. She used guilt to the max. She did go after my sister a couple of times with a dried willow branch....that was pretty borderline stuff.
The last is Criminal. My 3rd stepfather got off on getting drunk and beating the hell out of me. Kicking me around the outside of the house, broken ribs, more black eyes than I can remember...why? I looked him in the eye when he was yelling at me, because he told me to, but he didn't like the look in my eye. I went back to shoot the bastard in my 20's drunk one day. New owners at his house, he had died from an aggressive, painful cancer....Prison would have sucked!
The problem is the state, charged with protecting kids from intentional abuse has lumped all physical discipline into one bag. It would treat my grandfather and my stepfather the same.
Parents are now becoming unwilling to disciple their own children appropriately for fear they will be thrown into a foster care system that has less to do with reunifying families than it is a warehouse for children.
We have become a society that is so impressed with a well behaved, respectful and charitable kid, they are friggin front-page news. If our public school's put the paddle back over the desk & parents corrected their children with love and firmness without Dr. Spock, The Government & Dr. Phil peering over the back fence, we just might be able to live in a society again, that with all it's diversity, practiced more respect for our fellow humans. We could actually get the Criminal Justice budget under control in a generation or so.
Just My Opinion...