Spanking isn't the only discipline option, says Dr. James Dobson, founder of the Christian organization Focus on the Family, but it remains a valuable tool. He advises using a neutral object such as a paddle or a switch to administer spankings to children. His belief is that this preserves the image of a parent's hand as an object of love, not punishment. It is crucial, he emphasizes, that parents maintain control over their tempers and always balance firmness with love.

Read more advice on using corporal punishment from Focus on the Family.

On Christian Parents Network, Mark and Sallie Benedict write that spanking should not be done for accidents like spilled milk, but only when a child willfully defies a parent's clearly defined rules. The Benedicts also advise using a neutral object like a wooden paint paddle given free at paint stores to "separate the discipline from the person" giving it.

Police detective Robert Surgenor, the author of a book called "No Fear: A Police Officer's Perspective," argues that refraining from spanking young children leads to dangerous defiance later in adolescence. In addition to recounting his experiences with family disputes as a police officer, he discusses the issue from a biblical perspective. He writes, "The non-spanking advocate will attempt to refer to the rod meaning a stick or a staff, such as used by shepherds. God says in Proverbs 29:15, `The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.' Now then, let's be fair. If the rod means loving guidance as the non-spanking advocate suggests, where does the word reproof fit in? I'm afraid that the reproof is verbal and the rod is physical. God would not have mentioned both words in the same verse if they meant the same thing."

The website ReligiousTolerance.org has posted a comprehensive summary of the Christian pro-spanking position in this article. It discusses the belief that children should be disciplined from an early age, and also outlines different interpretations of the relevant verses from Proverbs.

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