I ran across this yesterday:
DEAR ABBY: I have a 4-year-old who tends to act up from time to time. I have tried "time-outs" and even soft spanking and have taken his privileges away. Nothing seems to work. However, I have found that smashing one of his small toys with a hammer works well. Do you see any danger in this form of punishment? -- YOUNG MOM IN OKLAHOMA
Let's break this thing down*.....
"I have a 4-year-old who tends to act up from time to time." - Not exactly "stop the presses" kind of information here, Okie mom. Show me a 4-year-old who doesn't act up, and I'll show you a mom who gives her child Benadryl every 4-6 hours.
"I have tried "time-outs" and even soft spanking and have taken his privileges away." - Soft spanking? Well there's your problem. He probably thinks you're playing with him. Sheesh! Taking privileges away? When I was growing up, we didn't have any privileges. Well, except for those twice-daily 5-minute breaks from picking green beans in the garden from 6 AM to 7 PM in July and August.
"However, I have found that smashing one of his small toys with a hammer works well." - There's your problem. The toys you're smashing aren't big enough, so you're not making an impact. Take his Teddy Ruxpin, turn it on to start reading a story, then take a sledge hammer and whomp ol' TR up 'side his furry little head. That'll get his attention!
*Note - The OFIT is not a licensed psychiatrist.....