as a child i was hit upside the head by my father's hand to the point of seeing stars, (until my mother finally warned him to knock it off before he damaged my brain or something) it was never for anything i did, it was always just when he was in a bad mood.
my mother hit me with wooden spoons, and hairbrushes. on the butt, but it hurt plenty. and she didn't 'need' to hit me, i was a very easily guilted child (emotional abuse all over the place) and so all they had to do was look at me sideways and i would obey. so the hitting wasn't necessary.
i have never hit my child. Not once. she's seven now, and i am glad i never have. her father spanked her one time, (despite my telling him he'd better never do it) on the butt, but she has never forgotten and views him differently because of it.
i just don't hit. to me, it says to a child that physical violence is acceptable, and to me, that is unacceptable.
when she's out of line, i get her where she lives: taking away priveleges. Never fails to work for me.
ps one time when i was very, very small, about four, we were at the bookstudy and the conductor asked if anyone else had any comments before he closed with prayer. I raised my hand, and before my parents could put it down, he called on me. He asked what i had to say, and with all honesty I said "I want to say that parent's shouldn't spank, cause it hurts their kids feelings." my parents were mortified. you'd think one adult in that room would have realized that they needed to figure out why i said that *shrug*