From Chapter 9 of Lloyd deMause’s The Origins of War in Child Abuse:
After half a century of primary source research into the history of childrearing, I and over a hundred other childhood historians have been unable to find a single mother who did not badly beat and torture their children prior to modern times. I have long offered a prize to anyone who could find actual evidence of just one mother prior to the 18th century who would not today be thrown into jail for badly abusing their children.
The occasional reformers, like Saint Anselm, who sometimes questioned whether whipping children “day and night” was wise, did not raise any children themselves because they were ascetic. Despite the fact that Jesus nowhere says children should be beaten, Christians taught that He wanted them to beat the sins out of them continuously, from birth. Actually, the main reference Jesus makes to children was “suffer little children to come unto me … and he laid his hands on them — that is, he exorcised the bad spirits out of them.”
The central rule of Christians toward children is simply never to give the child anything it wants. “Willfulness” was the cardinal sin, and the words “I want” were “impermissible” for which children were punished severely. Even babies had to be taught the only thing that mattered was what the adults wanted; as John Wesley put it, “Never, on any account, give a child anything that it cries for … If you give a child what he cries for, you pay him for crying.” That beating and torturing “sinful” children usually “did not work” was acknowledged by all — as one mother wrote of her first battle with her four-month-old infant: “I whipped him until he was actually black and blue, and until I could not whip him any more, and he never gave up one single inch.” If the parents’ regular beating of their children still did not result in obedience, the child should be “put to death [if they] curse or smite their father or mother,” according for instance to a 1646 Massachusetts law. The only restriction sometimes mentioned by priests was that children should not be hit “about the face and head with fire shovels … hit him upon the sides with the rod, he shall not die thereof.”
If you want to believe deMause is making stuff up, don’t read the complete chapter because it has footnotes for almost everything (232, to be exact).
For comparison, here’s what deMause has to say about Islam.