I am a SAHM and my son has been struggling with this issue for an entire year now. It began after his younger sister started becoming mobile, he quickly figured out that spitting in her face would deter her from coming near him. I have always taken this seriously and acted immediately on this behavior and have never let it go unpunished. I would at first just tell him no and explain that it is disrespectful/rude/etc. I moved on to time outs, removing him from situations, even trying to distract him from the behavior, but the habit has not budged at all and he has become significantly more aggressive overtime, hitting, kicking, pushing, and outright refusing to share. He seems to have a lack of understand for the feelings for others, but he is interested in playing with other children, but ends up bullying them. I have mentioned this to his doctor but she assures me that it's a stage and he will outgrow it and she said I'm doing everything right. Over the past few months, he has started spitting in my face when I would discipline him. He refuses to look at me if I am counseling him on his behavior and he developed a stern "look" that just looks pure mean. He has also been spitting in his grandmother's face (one of his favorite people) and often fights her and myself as well when ask him to do simple tasks ("take off your shoes, please, don't stand in the chair, please, come inside please"). He also refuses to apologize, won't say thank you, and refuses to potty train (he knows how to use the potty, but he has days where he will take off his pants and underwear and tell me he wants diapers, then pee and poop in the floor if I don't honor his request - and I make him clean up his poop and pee as punishment). I am currently almost 4 months pregnant as well. My daughter is excited to be a big sister, but when I tell my son that he's going to have another brother or sister to play with, he says "Nope. No baby." And he has even tried to punch my stomach. It doesn't seem like sibling rivalry because he does not seem to be interested in his sister at all. They have played together on occasion but 90% of the time he ends up hurting her. I have tried spanking a handful of times, but I do not believe in spanking and he has always hit back.
I find myself attempting correction for the majority of the day - I say "attempting" because most of the time it does not seem like it's working. I have tried to focus on the positives but he always seems to turn a good situation sour. I feel like I made a mistake deciding to have more children, as it seemed as though he thrived better when he was an only child.
We are a very hands-on family (at least my 2 children and me - my husband works 15 hour days) and I have practiced AP with both children. We eat as healthy as we can (thanks to low income) and we do not keep junk food in the house. i have attempted switching him off cows milk to almond milk and have even tried gluten free but my husband is not a healthy eater and it's hard to get the family switched over with him not on the same wavelength. I have planned to put my son in tee ball soon, but I will be honest, his behavior worries me. I have not had these problems with my daughter.
I am truly at a loss of what to do at this point.