I think the term "spanking" is very wide in range of meanings, as it could mean to any severity. I mean you get some parents who really belt their children so much they bleed. And I know a lot of the time this isn't the case, but I was hit severely as a child, and I was told that it's okay because I've done something wrong or I've been naughty and I deserved it. But let me tell you now, and it annoys me when people tell me I'll change my mind when I have kids of my own, but I'm never hitting or "spanking" my child.
A lot of people have said they benefited from being spanked as a child and that it taught them discipline, but I just think there are so many other ways to discipline a child without making them loathe you. My parents and I aren't very close anymore because I've distanced myself because of how they treated me when I was younger and how they treat me now. I guess some people benefit, but you can't always assume that a child is going to thank you for it later.
Of course it is, it is physical hurt especially when it is misused then it is unarguably abuse. There are better ways of punishment than hurting your kids. It is not respectful, there are better and more affective ways of punishment such as being banned from something.
It can often be abused and then it turns into violence.
Children are fragile both physically and emotionally. Using violence against them is more dangerous than with older people. In addition, children who are spanked are taught that violence is a solution to problems. Children who are spanked are more likely to spank their own kids or even commit violent crimes. It is abuse both physically and mentally. Rather than teaching children that violence can solve their problems with others, we should be teaching them non-violent solutions to disputes.
When you spank to discipline you don't do it to beat your child, you do it to show them the difference from right and wrong. You don't whack them twenty times and you don't do it hard. However if you do it when you're angry or push it too far then it becomes abuse.
I come from a family who believes in moderate discipline towards their kids. If they have been continuously acting up, they need the paddle or a kick spanking. As long as it's not too excessive and leaves welts, I think it is perfectly fine for the parents to do so. Sometime's it's what it all comes down to.