Yes, parenting was different then. Spankings weren't looked at as abuse. Belts, on the other hand - even in a family with a military father, the idea of a belt was something horrifying. That was something that got brought up during one of those open-hand spankings as something that you were lucky you weren't getting, because you had parents who cared about you. Maybe you heard about 'when I was a kid, your grandma made me cut a switch from the willow/birch/etc. tree in the back yard', or 'when I was a kid, grandpa took me out behind the woodshed.' Bill Cosby mentioned a belt in one of his routines, and everyone shuddered. Joan Crawford broke out a wire coat hanger (1981, but if you were watching that movie, you were probably over 10), and you saw her as a hateful, evil person.