I don't even know where to begin with this. My 6 yo son (who is almost 7) has always been spiritied and difficult to communicate with. But lately he has become so difficult to discipline, I feel like I am losing control of the situation. Some examples:
He and his (3 yo) sister are playing independently and he just walks up to her an starts messing with her work. He teases and says mean things to her, which upsets her greatly. When I step in and tell him that he cannot say mean words to her, he just laughs. When I ask him why he is behaving this way, he just tries to hide a smile and says, "it's fun." He hits her quite a lot. As much as I try to let my children wok things out themselves, I am absolutely sick of him hurting her. She deserves to live in a home where she is not being physically abused by her brother.
Another example: I feel like I have to repeat myself over and over until he hears me. I will get right next to him, place a gentle hand on his shoulder and engage his eyes and say something like, "I can see that you are really interested in your Legos right now. We have to leave the house in ten minutes, so you need to finish up what you are building or set it on your desk for later." He will just go on like nothing was ever said, and has a fit when I come back in ten minutes. I have to ask again and again until I totally loose my cool and raise my voice. Sometimes I feel like the only way he hears me is if I raise my voice and I hate it. Cleanup time is a complete disaster and he just won't participate.
Usually I try to use natural consequences, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to handle him anymore. I've read Alfie Kohn and many books about "working with" instead of "doing to" types of discipline. With a minimum of lecturing, I might say, "You may not hit your sister. That hurts her. You may use your words instead." I've also tried using the Golden Rule. I might say, "How would you feel if your sister came up to you and started hitting you?" He will admit that it would make him mad and hurt. It doesn't matter, he does it again and again. He has absolutely no empathy for anyone. Including me.
I hate time out. He just sits in his room and bangs on the door. I've tried taking toys away. He just finds something else to play with. I've tried taking privileges away such as tv but he doesn't seem to care. Nothing I am doing is getting through to him. He even said to me today, "I still love you even when you are mean to me." I don't want to be mean, I want to be in charge!! Dang it, I'm the mom!
I am at my absolute wit's end with this child. He is making me, my husband, and his sister miserable. I feel myself distancing from him and I don't like that. This is making me absolutely heartsick. I find by the end of the day I have a hard time reading bedtime stories or singing songs or tucking him into bed because I am just so absolutely worn out and sad.
So how do I discipline a child like this when nothing I do seems to get through or matter to him?