Do you believe that your children are people? Do you believe that they are just as human as you are, or are they more like untamed donkeys that need to be whipped into domestication? I'm not saying this to be funny. I'm going to be brutally honest and stop pussyfooting around about this issue. I believe that some of you will be angry with me, or hurt that I disagree with your methods. Well, I'm sorry, but you're big, and they're little, and they need more protection, not less.
I do not hit, beat, spank, slap or grab my children by the arms because I believe for them to remain truly compassionate humans (anyone who has observed young children see they are the models of compassion, vulnerability, and even Christ said that "the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these), they need to be respected for the human beings they already are, complete with gifts to give us and talents to share with the world. I want my children to be internally motivated. This is a huge difference between those that practice gentle, mindful parenting and those that injure their children into "obedience". I want my children to make decisions with their minds and their desires to be like Christ, not because in the past, or looming ahead of them at the moment, a much larger or more authoritative person than themselves is threatening to injure their bodies if they don't choose correctly. Fear-based obedience scares the crap out of me. It conjures up images of Hitler.
If you hit your children, you need to know that if they are under the age of five, they still don't quite have the developmental concept down yet of cause and effect. So in addition to not taking into account their blooming ability to learn to perceive how their actions will affect themselves and others, you are also preempting it with the most basic primitive animal emotion - fear. They better obey, or they will be hurt.
Gentle discipline takes a lot longer than punitive discipline. It may take years for your son or daughter to finally understand what you have been trying to teach them, rather than having them obey your command immediately, that moment, that day. Punitive discipline through threats of violence or isolation also CAUSES children to sin, rather than preventing them from it. If they are threatened with being punished, they will lie, because they are afraid. We are so blessed that our almost four year old daughter continues to come right up to us and tell us that she thinks she did something wrong, because instead of punishing her, we talk, at length, about it and learn together about how to help her be more successful.
I could say volumes and volumes and volumes more on this, and I am by no means the perfect parent, but now that I've opened up Pandora's box, lemme have it. Email me, flood the comments with descriptions of what a bad Christian I must be. Tell me all about how children are little brats, will never learn unless there's a consequence (and by the way, I also don't agree with timeouts/isolation tactics). Tell me all about how THE LORD says in the Bible to beat the crap out of your children, the rod verses, God punishes those He loves, etc. And I will show you a merciful Jesus who said, with a child next to him , "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea." Matthew 18:5
I don't hit children because I believe all people are born with the right to be free from physical injury, and I believe children are people. If you don't believe children are people, then I guess you can disregard my comments.