I have my own definite opinions on these issues, but I must confess I'm not as unhesitant on the issue of spanking. I live in Quebec, where children's rights are protected in what I used to consider an excessively anti-parents way. Physical punishment on children is forbidden and parents can be arrested for spanking their kids. Now, any parent (read: mother) who has been embarrassed and frustrated by a screaming, squirming kid throwing a tantrum in public would understand the rage can be build up inside the parent's heart. She still has to pick up the dry cleaning, finish buying groceries for tonight's dinner and she's going to miss the metro and be caught in the rush hour throngs with this screaming monster and two armfuls of groceries. It would seem that a whack on the bottom of the child would speed his recovery. Or not.
I remember the first time I spanked my first born. I lost something that was kept in my closet and he was always playing in my closet so I accused him, he denied, and in anger, I spanked him. The next day, his nanny told me that she took that thing (I don't even remember what it was) and put it somewhere else. I can still see his teary face and the deep-cutting remorse I felt then, which I still feel now, once in a while. I keep that feeling, with a few other painful episodes, in a special directory called «Bad things I did». That spanking, and another time when he called me at three or four in the morning to ask me to come pick him up cause there were no buses and it was raining and I said no because I was too sleepy, those are my safeguards. Every time I feel anger or frustration towards him, those memories are what drag me back to sanity and equinamity.
Spank your child in love, not in anger? I defy anyone to purposely hurt another creature out of love. Punishment is never about the other person, it's all about you and your surrendering to anger and desire for revenge, about your trying to regain control.