I truly believe in a parent's right to employ corporal punishment or spanking for discipline or corrective training, but such force should always be used sparingly, calmly, with very limited, precise measures, using only the minimal force to get the child's attention, inflicting the minimal amount of pain to enforce the moral lesson. I also believe it should be done in the spirit of love, knowing that you are only using this measure because nothing else will work, nothing else will be as effective in driving home the lesson due to their immaturity. The most important principle in this situation is correction toward the right moral principles, the right behavior that you expect of the child in the future. You should always explain why you are giving them the punishment, what moral principle was breached, and you should end the act with an expression of reassurance and love, showing the child that you still love them even though you did not like their behavior.
Spanking should never be done in anger because that leads to abuse when we are not in our right minds. And we should certainly never derive any pleasure or satisfaction in the spanking. If your heart and spirit are right, if you are walking with God in the center of His will, living by His principles of love, then you will be emotionally wounded as well by having to carry out this act of punishment. Loving your child, as you should, you should find the necessity of inflicting pain on your child distasteful. You should hate the necessity of spanking but desire above all that the child should be trained in right moral principles as found in Scripture. Of course, we are well beyond the days of disciplinary training with my children, needing only corrective counseling in certain circumstances. Our moral training of our children has taken hold, and they desire to do the right moral thing now as much as we desire it of them.
But like all people, including me, our children have their bad days in which things aren’t going so well for them or they are moody, and like all people, they sometimes make mistakes in how they treat each other, but they are growing and learning and, for the most part, they are becoming wonderful, intelligent people of character, with kindness, love, and respect for each other as well as all people, possessing great critical thinking skills, and displaying much wisdom and theological knowledge in word and action. But this did not come about by accident. My wife and I have invested many thousands of hours into our children during homeschooling, family outings, time doing chores, time driving to activities, time over meals, etc. We’ve had so many countless conversations with our children, using the time to further develop our relationships with them, to listen to them, to help bear their burdens, to teach them, to mentor and counsel them, and just to enjoy their company. We have been teaching them diligently (Deuteronomy 6:5-7) all this time in the correct path to walk, and our job will continue until they are on their own, building their own homes and families.
Moreover, as my children have been growing up, my wife and I have been steadily growing as well. I think perhaps this is the reason that many people think of the teen years as difficult or bad years. I think it might be because the parents don’t grow along with the children. When you stay stagnant as a person and a parent, it is likely that you will unnecessarily lean on a small set of parenting skills without changing, and thus you will end up using these skills on your children long after they are appropriate. From my experience, I’ve seen many parents using control measures over their children that were appropriate for the younger years but which cause unnecessary conflict as the child grows older. Such control measures, when not loosened up gradually as they grow and show more responsibility, give the child the impression that you do not respect them, that you do not honor their unique personality, character, and talents, and that you do not love them so much as you view them as a possession to control and manipulate. Of course, these things are probably not true, but when your actions give such an impression, then the child cannot be blamed for coming to such a conclusion or interpretation of your actions. Words are cheap. Actions come at more cost to you and are more valuable.
I pray that you will be filled with wisdom, patience, and gentle love for your children, remembering the great responsibility that you have to God for their proper upbringing, and that you will remember always that your children belong to God, not to you. If you do not have children but have young relatives or friends in your life that you can influence and serve for God, I pray that you will be led by God in wisdom and love in impacting that child for the better, perhaps encouraging and loving him or her in situations where there are no other adults in their life doing so.