Originally Posted by GermanStar
Yes I do. I have worked hard to earn their respect, and I have succeeded without threatening them or employing violence. I can also housebreak dogs without beating them. It isn't difficult, it just requires a little patience. I will add that I was no kid when I first became a parent. Ten years prior, I lacked the skills and patience that I later acquired.
I think you might fairly find (as I have) that your skills and patience have matured at least in lock step with your child. As my son has matured (now 9), I've had fewer and fewer occasions to threaten or spank him. I can't recall the last time I've had to, actually, although he's certainly been in trouble. Again, the ability to reason goes a long way to de-escalating disciplinary methods. All it really takes now is a look, and he knows if he needs to keep himself in check or stop what he's doing.
Same with my dog. Housebreaking a dog is the easy stuff - getting it to do (or stop doing) things by command requires training - discipline and praise combined. Before a certain age, children are similar - they need non stop praise until they demonstrate that they're testing the boundaries of good behavior, at which point they need discipline. If your child is receptive to verbal correction alone, fantastic. Not all of them are....some are completely unreceptive to verbal correction, so much so that you question their ability to hear. A firm swat on the rear end puts to bed any question of a behavior's acceptability.
I've spanked my son, typically as a last resort, but that has always been the last level of escalation between he and I. To this day, he still thinks that our rules are subject to his whims...if he "really wants to" do something, it doesn't matter if we've told him not to (nor how many times we've said no, nor that we've never said yes). This remains the largest area of friction in our household, and one that I'm certain he'll eventually outgrow. That doesn't mean I let the rules bend - in real life, it's unsafe to assume that rules are flexible. It just means we have to keep reinforcing the rules tirelessly until it clicks with him.
On an related note, I have a neighbor who is completely passive with their children. Their youngest is a nightmare - once, despite his father's plaintive urging and my telling him "drop it" about 6 times, the little shit picked up my garden hose and sprayed me with it (I was washing our cars). He favors very violent forms of play, and talks back to every adult with whom he comes in contact. I've NEVER seen the child disciplined in any fashion. He's now allowed to play football and wrestling, at age 7, which is pretty disturbing. They also had a dog that they summarily ignored and didn't know how to discipline, which they've since gotten rid of since it tore up their back yards non-stop and wouldn't stop jumping on people. They've no stomach for correction of any kind, and as a result, their children don't understand what acceptable behavior is with any group of adults. All of them end up looking like idiots, which they are.
By contrast, everyone who has ever babysat my son has praised his disposition and behavior. He's a bright, happy, outgoing young man - not at all by accident. Children of character are the result of a lot of hard work.