Fundamentally, for me, hitting children is a strict no-no. However, there is a school of thought which believes that sparing the “rod” in the initial years will lead to spoiling the child. I am not proposing that believers in using the “rod” only follow this approach to discipline the child but am saying that there is an inclination to use the “rod” more frequently, depending upon the situation at hand.
Not taking a professional qualified view on this approach, but the fact that one is inclined to use force to discipline the child could result in the following situations:
1. The child becoming timid and scared on account of the fear of the severe reprimand he or she is likely to receive in case they do a serious enough offence.
2. Conversely, the worst can happen, i.e. they can become obtuse and indifferent to the beating that they get there by becoming a possible rebel.
In my opinion both the scenarios described above are not desirable at all. Infact, a more mature and effective approach would be to counsel the child on the mistake that he or she has done and how they should learn from this, recognize the consequences of their actions and hopefully not repeat it. I feel that frequent, unrequited use of the “rod” is akin to disrespecting the child – their personality and individuality. It is also a shortcut that people in authority choose to take to get their point across or job done.
However, I feel the conversational approach is better in the long-term for all the relationships involved. Depending upon the seriousness of the situation, at times a raised voice along with stern looks can be equally effective in sending home the message. Yes, sometimes some cooling off time could also be required (for both parties involved) wherein the child should introspect and recognize the results of their action and learn from them and the adult and the authority figure should control/compose themselves.
Net-net using the “rod” is not going to be any more effective than a counseling approach, rather by not using this approach, you are more likely to ensure that your child will grow into a confident self-assured individual.