Choose the message.
Before you get yourself embroiled in a battle of wills, make sure you're concentrating on the things that really matter. Seven-year-old Bodhi Menice, of Corrales, New Mexico, has a talent for ignoring his mother, Danielle, when she asks him to do something he'd rather not do. So she weighs the importance of her requests. "If it's something essential, like setting the table before we sit down for dinner, then I'll make sure he gets it done," she says. If not, she'll either let it go or wait until later. "Because kids this age often feel overwhelmed, they're more likely to listen and cooperate if they feel that parents are only asking them to do the really important things," says Dr. Fick. Critical tasks like homework and family chores can take precedence over smaller issues that pop up during the day, like a pair of sneakers kicked off in the hallway or a candy wrapper that's fallen shy of the trash can.