I have three kids now all adults. They got the VERY VERY occasional smack if I really got cross with them but I could NEVER have cold bloodedly hit them when I was calm and 'in control'. The thought makes me cringe inside and makes my blood run cold even thinking about it.
People were always commenting on how well bahaved and lovely they all were, and that was without corporal punishment, or hitting(and certainly not with a stick or belt or suchlike), just the usual tellings off and occasionally being sent to their rooms.
You only have to watch such programmes as super nanny now to see that all you need is consistency, and loving firmness to change even the most difficult child. You dont need physical pnishment, she has proved that time and time again with the most naughty children you could imagine.
My husband was hit with the buckle end of a belt and he was a very sensitive child, and I am sure this has affected him badly and he still has some issues with his mum (who did the hitting) and they have a very poor relationship.
She even told a neighbour that they should shut their daughter in the chicken house for being naughty, when this poor little girl was really really scared of chickens. Well they did as she said.......goodness knows what happened the the little girl or how this affected her.
I guess if you want your children to obey out of fear, then go ahead, hit them with sticks, belts or whatever you want, but that isnt what I wanted for my children. I wanted them to bahave because it was the right thing to do and not because they were so scared and afraid of the punishment.