So far we have done only very, and I mean *very* gentle discipline. We have never used a punishment of any kind, and we don't want to. But a few minutes ago my husband threatened to punish him! He was just being generally rude and cranky and snipey at his 3 1/2 year old brother *again* and dh said if he didn't change his attitude he was going to have to go into his room! Actually I'm not sure it would technically be a punishment so much as a way to protect the little guy.
But anyhow, I'd say that this cranky rude thing has been happening for as long as a year now and becoming an increasingly big part of his personality. I'm worried that it'll be some kind of an ingrained habit and he won't be nice anymore if we don't turn it around soon. The attitude is almost exclusively aimed at me, dh, and ds2 and is most prominent when we're home. Ds has always been one of those well-behaved rule followers when we're out or he's at school or someone else's house. People are amazed to hear that he can be at all difficult. But there are days, it seems, when he's just not nice, like almost all day (or evening as usually we're out for at least part of the day and often most of the day).
One thing I wonder about is if it could be mostly about him being exhausted. Durning the school year, it seems like there's just too much for him to do and no time for lying around and rest and enough sleep. That's actually going to get worse this coming year because he's changing schools and we're going to have to be out of the house 45 minutes earlier in the morning, which feels pretty significant to me. His bedtime is nine and I can't imagine it being earlier. Two days a week we don't even get home from karate until 6:30 and then if he's got homework...
But I'm wondering how to make it stop. Part of me feels like doing a zero tolerance thing, like if you can't be civil then you can't be out here with us (go to your room!) and we're just not going to allow you to treat us this way. OTOH, I can't quite see how you can have zero tolerance against moodiness. And his brother can actually be pretty trying at times. And I think it is normal and natural to be acting like a lot of what we say is moronic. lol
I think I am willing to send him to his room if we need to, not as a punishment but because the rest of us need to be able to be in our home without being attacked. But I'm not sure how much farther beyond that I'd be willing to go. I suppose if someone had something that really worked, I might consider it. But I'm wondering if anything ever actually works with this kind of problem, or if we're just going to have to wait for him to turn 30.