Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.
Sounds like a physical beating to me where a person is encouraged to beat one's child and not worry about killing him.
I think they did change their policy about hitting children around the late 1990's and no longer pushed for corporal punishment due to a enlightened society's stand and legal ramifications towards it. I do remember a public talk in the 1970 where they put down Dr Benjamin Spock's for his stand against spanking of children and showed the bible's admonition to spank one's child as superior advice.