I wanted to extend the discussion from this post with some thoughts from Brigham Young:
“I do not think that these words of Solomon will justify the ruling of children with an iron hand. Chastening may be necessary betimes, but parents should govern their children by faith rather than by the rod, leading them kindly by good example into all truth and holiness.”
“Solomon said, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son,” but instead of using the rod, I will teach my children by example and by precept. . . . It is not by the whip or the rod that we can make obedient children; but it is by faith and by prayer, and by setting a good example before them. This is my belief.”
“I will here say to parents, that kind words and loving actions towards children, will subdue their uneducated natures a great deal better than the rod, or, in other words, than physical punishment. Although it is written that, “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame,” and, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes;” these quotations refer to wise and prudent corrections. Children who have lived in the sunbeams of parental kindness and affection, when made aware of a parent’s displeasure, and receive a kind reproof from parental lips, are more thoroughly chastened, than by any physical punishment that could be applied to their persons. It is written, that the Lord “shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth.”
“Kindness, love, and affection are the best rod to use upon the refractory. . . . I differ with Solomon’s recorded saying as to spoiling the child by sparing the rod. True it is written in the New Testament that “whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth.”
We have always been a no-spanking family, although I am not convinced that minor, rare physical discipline is a great evil. (I am convinced, however, that the times when I have yelled at my kids were a great evil.) If you want to spank on occasion, I won’t argue with you. If you want to claim that you are required to spank your child in order to be a faithful scripture-following parent, then I think Brigham Young would argue with you. He seems to vacillate in these quotes between re-defining “rod” as non-physical and flat-out rejecting these verses. I think the latter is the better move exegetically, but whatever.