Re: The spanking debate.
I believe that spanking can work in particular families and with particular people, especially if they're principled about it and have obviously thought a great deal about it (like the ladies here do and have).
My personal experience with spanking has led me to distrust it, and especially to distrust my ability to use it appropriately.
As a child I was spanked sometimes out of anger, and sometimes out of principle. I was spanked with the flat of my parents' hand, with a hairbrush and a wooden spoon, I was slapped across the face, and threatened with violence - "I will beat you black and blue", "I'll beat you til you bleed", etc. They never did beat us til we bruised or bled - but it was properly terrifying.
We were raised to be obedient first time as well. As a daughter, I think that was a mistake on my parents' part that backfired spectacularly, and as a parent, I don't want my daughter to have obedience be her first instinct. I want her to be scared of the things I'm scared of for her, not scared of me.
I catch myself getting angry with this tiny person for disobeying, and I catch myself wanting to punish her. And it frightens me.
I don't think my parents were abusive. But I don't want to emulate their parenting.
Mama to my sweetheart, Jamila (5/2011); wife to my mensch, Josh. Eleanor to you