I smack DS1 (who'll be four in March) very very rarely, but am trying to reduce that to never. Generally we can work almost everything out with explaining things, counting down, distraction, natural consequences etc. But he's a spirited child and though he's usually an amazing kid, when he's naughty he's ridiculously naughty.
How would you handle the following (this is an example of a situation today where he got a small smack on the hand. I'd like tools not to go there again):
At a play centre. DS is consistently not listening and doing dangerous things. He's definitely going to get hurt quite badly with what he's doing. I approach him and ask him to stop. He rolls his eyes back, bares his teeth and snarls at me. I say his name again, tell him not to snarl and explain that he'll get hurt doing what he's doing. He shrieks and snarls at me and karate chops my arm several times. I say stop, remove his hands and suggest we play elsewhere in the centre. He shrieks (loudly) no.
I explain that I love him and don't want him to get hurt. He rolls his eyes back, tells me he'll shoot me (my child has NEVER been exposed to guns or violence in the media, he's picked up the idea of shooting people from kids playing at the park ages ago. I've explained to him multiple times why it's not a good thing to say) then spits in my direction.
At this point he got a small smack, burst into tears then came over for a hug and listened to what I was saying and took notice. He immediately went to play with something else happily.
We've had similar situations before when I've tried counting down etc rather than explaining but if he's in the mood to try to be naughty it doesn't work. This is a child who'll say things like "Mum I've decided I'm not going to be naughty for a couple of days to let you relax."
or if he is being naughty and I ask why he'll say "I made a decision to be annoying. I want to irritate you." He gets it. So to some degree it's intentional. To another degree, well, he's a kid!
Ideas appreciated (be kind please!)
(eta - I should add that physically removing him from the situation doesn't work. He's 110cm and almost 24kg. He's a big kid and if he's in that mode he would run, kick, hit or make himself impossible to pick up)