The question of whether to spank your kid or not has always been and still remains a controversial topic. There are psychologists and experts who are totally against the practice of spanking to discipline a child and of course there are parents who believe that a little spanking hurts no one. Where you stand on the issue depends on number of factors. Studies show that there are some cultures where spanking is the norm. There are also certain states that report higher amounts of spanking as a disciplinary measure.
One of the main factors that determine whether you will spank your child is if you were spanked as a child too. The logic behind this is that 'it didn't' do you much harm so it won't harm your child either.' People also define spanking differently. For some it's a swat of the hand or a whack on the bottom. For others it may involve a more corporal form of punishment. These are all subjective areas and make it very difficult to lay down a universal set of rules for disciplining a child.
According to psychologists, none of these reasons or factors gives a parent or adult the right to use force to discipline a child. If you say you spank your child because he has done something dangerous, for example run on to the road, think about what exactly you are teaching your kid. For him there is no connection between the spanking and his actions. What he does feel is that HE is bad not that he DID something bad. Therefore the fear of being spanked in the future will only make him try harder to hide his actions from you and not get caught. Since spanking does not teach an alternative form of behavior, children only end up feeling resentful and humiliated. Spanking also teaches your children that it is ok to hit others. This may even lead to long-term effects such as violent or aggressive behavior as the child grows older.
Some parents, however, believe that spanking is an acceptable form of discipline and that spanking stops children from doing anything dangerous. It can stop the child quickly and effectively before he harms himself. A lot of parents do not believe in the efficacy of other disciplinary measures such as time out. According to them, a spank here and there will not do much damage and is essential to teach the child what is wrong and what is not acceptable.
For any disciplinary strategy to be effective it should be appropriate for the child's age and it should teach the child an alternative, more acceptable form of behavior. Disappointment over methods such as 'time out' or the 'naughty step' is more to do with a parent's unrealistic expectations of what a child is capable of understanding. If your child is behaving unruly and you are at your wit's end trying to control him, it may be beneficial to consult with your doctor or a counselor to discover other disciplinary methods besides spanking.
Ultimately, the question of whether or not to spank is not an easy one to answer and it depends on you. Ask yourself 'what do I want to accomplish by punishing my child in this way?' Then go ahead and make your decision, but make sure you do not ignore his mischief.