THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH SPANKING. When it is warranted, that is. Sounds to me that the boy is looking for attention and getting it any way possible-even if that means NEGATIVE attention. The most delicate balancing act a parent can orchestrate is between love and discipline. The goal here is to impart discipline-not to control the child. I tell my kids all the time that it's a mommy's job to help them be the best boys and girls they can be, and that often means discipline. I do my best to not become emotional about what they've done. Emotions get carried away and nothing gets accomplished and feelings get hurt. In general it comes down to this: KNOW that you are the ULTIMATE authority. Exude that authority and confidence in everything you do, as though you KNOW he will obey because that's the way things work in your house. Not as a drill sergeant or hateful person but with an underlying firmness that says "Hey, I'm not a force to be reckoned with". Make sure that he knows that there are definite consequences for specific actions.This way he KNOWS what's expected of him and will, in no uncertain terms, know the price he will pay if he disobeys. You must be consistent with this everytime.
If he does break a known rule, make an appropriate punishment. Recently I had told my four year old daughter repeatedly to stop telling me no. Then once when she said it I told her up front "You will not tell me no because it is disrespectful and you must do what you are told. I love you very much and I want to help you be a good girl. Now this is your last warning to stop telling me no. Next time you tell me no there will be no warning, but you will get a spanking". She did well for a bit and then slipped. I reminded her of what I'd told her and I followed through-she got three mild swats across the behind from her daddy's belt. I left her alone for a few, came back and discussed the reasoning behind it with her, told her I loved her, and allowed her to come out of her room.
Sorry for the length and detail here. I know it's outdated, but James Dobsin's book The StrongWilled Child provides much insight. He says your hand should always be seen as a thing of love so using a belt or paddle or something similar is more effective...Our belt hangs on my bedroom door. And my children don't hate me for spanking them! They feel more secure in their world when they know what's expected of them and what the consequences are for misbehaving! "Spare the rod, spoil the child".
Also, spanking is not illegal-it's ABUSE that's illegal. Teaching your children about respect and discipline is much different than abusing or controlling them! Our job as parents is to train them up in the way they should go.
Mother of three ages 6, 4, and 1.