First of all, I understand and accept that spanking children is wrong in any and all cases and should never be employed.
However, there are two cases when I'd tend to excuse spanking and this is one of them. I'd like to know what are better alternatives to handle such situations.
I think that at least some children have a tendency to test boundaries. When they are told "you may not do that", even if they obey for the time being, they will still be tempted to break this rule at least to see what happens if they do break it. If they are not punished or the punishment is too weak then they will try to push the boundaries even further, until they are finally forcefully stopped. This may eventually reach extremely disruptive, destructive and unacceptable behaviors, such as throwing things off shelves, throwing them over wardrobes, destroying documents on parents' desks, etc, etc.
Thank God I'm not a parent, because I think I'd a terrible father, but I still know such situations from personal experience, namely I remember I could sometimes be a really nasty child. And yes, I do remember doing exactly this: trying to anger adults around me as much as possible just for fun, to stir things up and/or to see what happens. This led to behavior described above. When my parents were finally fed enough with my misbehavior so much that they spanked me then my behavior was stopping, at least for the time being.
Since spanking is unacceptable, what should be done instead to put an immediate end to extremely unacceptable behaviors of children that must be stopped immediately?