There is no question that physical discipline is meant here (see also 22:15; 23:13–14; 29:15). In fact, failure to discipline is equal in effect to hating one’s child. But such discipline is not to be abusive; it should be redemptive, arising out of a deep love and concern to rear godly children.
Parents who avoid the difficult and unpleasant work of discipline actually fail to love their children enough. Parents can and must exercise their God-given authority to discipline their children in love, thus avoiding the extremes of authoritarian and permissive parenting. As Hebrews 12:5–11 teaches, the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.