In the last few months especially, my four year old daughter has escalated the frequency of disrespectful and defiant behavior. She has had a stubborn streak since age 2, and has a tendency for being strong-willed. Lately though, she is especially defiant. For example, she will say, "Stop it!" loudly if I shush her (even gently), or "You're a baby!" or kick toys or weakly hit my leg or arm if she is angry. If I confront her she says a toy did it. Sometimes she puts her hand up by her mouth and whispers to herself i("ps ps ps ps") and then goes to another room to tell the imaginary audience her thoughts, to tell them how mean mommy is, etc. It's nigh impossible to get her to take responsibility for something she did or said.
The other night bedtime was so awful that I turned out all the lights and told her if she wanted to do things her way, she was to put herself to bed with no story time or song. It was very distressing to her, which worked, and she behaved much better the following day. How to handle this so that the monkey is on her back and not mine weighs on me because my ex-husband's strategy in his home is now to spank her multiple times a day for repeated offenses. I see spanking as more of a last resort. I haven't reached that point yet, though I feel like I may be using this option occasionally and soon if I can't find a better one. I'm reading "The Well Behaved Child" and just got to Chapter 3 and the "Tickets" section.
Is this ("Tickets") a good place to start?
Should I worry that his spanking her two or more times a day will harm her in some way?