Having been on the receiving end of many an ass kicking as a kid, I have to concur.
My kids know better when they get "The Look". Two ass kicking (one each) were enough to stop the madness.
It really helps a mother if she has a male authority figure in the house to back up her authority. This is true for stubborn toddlers and teenagers alike. The classic threat of "Just wait until your father gets home" is effective -- there is greater respect for male authority.