I would keep using the gentle approach as he is not going to understand why he is being spanked and it will only work him up more. Plus likely cause trust issues. When my daughter starts throwing toys I redirect her to a different one and hide the one that is aggravating her. When he hits start giving him a firm now. Slightly raise your voice if you have to. If you see him go to hit grab his hand. When my daughter gets worked up, I take her into her play tent and read her to her. Sometimes we sing. It gives her a chance to calm down and is less stimulation. And you can say " don't hit me, or don't hit ____". My daughter started to become a biter and we would always say firmly "don't bite me, don't bite the table, don't bite your blanket" etc. She's still too young to understand frustration, but we know when she is getting worked up because she'll actually reprimand herself and say "don't bite the _____" before she completely explodes into a fit. In the past 2-3 months she has not bitten anybody. She will be two in October.
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