Your thread will bring in debates on whether spanking is ideal or not. haha. Get ready for many opinions from many mothers here. (altho i won't be surprised if many say spare the rod? spoil the child! :P)
I discipline my children the moment I sense that they can understand me. However, I do not physically punish them.
I am a firm believer of Positive Discipline for children age 3 and below (title of a book). The book discourages spanking, screaming, belittling (labelling), and other negative ways of discipline towards a child.
(an excerpt taken from the book)
Positive Discipline is effective with children from birth to 3yrs old because it is different from conventional discipline. When ppl talk about discipline, they usually mean punishment cos they believe the two are one and the same. Real discipline, however, involves teaching. Positive Discipline is all about teaching, understanding, encouraging and communicating - not about punishing. Much of what your little one does in their early years (0-3yrs) has more to do with emotional, physical and cognitive development and age appropriate behaviour than it does with 'misbehaviour'. Babies and toddlers need nonpunitive discipline that enhances their development - not blame, shame and pain.
After reading afew chapters, I was reallllly, trullllly, superrrr skeptical with their approach (mainly because I was brought up the typical asian way, spanked, belittled, ridiculed, shamed, etc). But hubby and I decided to give it a try.
Its been almost a year since we bought the book. We have never spanked our 22 month old girl yet her teachers and a mother of another toddler (she was in class everyday cos her son kicks and smacks the teacher when he's upset) kept exclaiming how well behaved, smart and independant she is for her age. She listens to instructions very well too. When they asked how we discipline her, we just said we do it positively.
But I have to say, it was truly difficult for spouse and i (ok me especially) to be positive ALL THE TIME. A tremendous amount of patience is key. I can only say so much. I think for someone to really understand what i'm talking about, they would probably have to read the book. But like me, you will definitely ask... surrrre or not this author. Never spank can be obedient mehhh???
(disclaimer: I wasn't paid to promote this book. Just sharing my knowledge and what I've learnt through trial and error. I've read many and this one works best for my child. Different child, different ways of upbringing, different levels of patience, will produce different results horrr. parents should always find the best methods for their child. never follow blindly. )