The brilliant Sheryl tweeted that she charges a candy tax for every wrapper she finds on the floor. Excellent! So today, after catching Shmoo trying to lift Loki cat up with a doll scarf, I told him if I saw him hurting the cat or Roo that I would take a piece of candy out of his basket and eat it. As I was gathering shoes and coats to get us out the door for his afternoon Pre-K, I caught Shmoo roughly squeezing Roo on the couch. (He puts one hand on her belly and the other on the small of her back and pushes them together.) I announced that I was taking a piece of his candy and did it. (I set the candy aside because I had just brushed my teeth.) He was crestfallen. Candy is his Precious. So we'll see how effective this is. The best part about it is I can just calmly announce it and do it, rather than put him in time-out, which tends to get dramatic and incendiary. When the candy's all gone, however, I'll have to figure out another plan.
Shmoo's actions worry me a bit because no matter what I say/do, he doesn't seem to realize the consequences of what he does. Empathy doesn't seem to be his strong suite. I wouldn't say it's on the level of sociopath—probably more a lack of impulse control.
It's tough to find the balance of controlling him vs. letting things play out. The cat has claws and teeth and can run away and jump out of reach. Roo can speak up for herself and physically can hold her own more and more. She enjoys the roughhousing they do (different than today's incident because it wasn't mutual). But Shmoo is nearly 50 lbs and strong as an ox. Bottom line is we don't inflict harm on others. /sigh/