That's before the clever comebacks start. "It's not fair!" "You love him more than me!" "You always think it's my fault!" "Why are you always cross?" "Why do I have to do it? Just tell me why, Mummy!" Emotional manipulation dressed up as ... well, as emotional manipulation (but it works, because it's aimed at your weakest points, guilt and self-doubt).
Before you know it, you're arguing back. "Of course I love you!" "I'm not cross. At least I wasn't until you started arguing!" "It is so fair." (At this point your grammar, like your temper, is deteriorating.) The argument escalates into 10 exhausting minutes of "You said" - "I said", and all your images of competent parenting end up on the cutting room floor.
Which is why I love this parenting advice from, of all places, our school newsletter's hints on parenting (which I normally resent for its superior, PC tones). This advice is supposed to be about boys; but I think it's mums and girls, with their verbal dexterity, who need to hear this most of all.
Repeat demands quietly without getting into arguments. This is called the 'broken record' technique and differs from nagging in that you just repeat the instruction quietly, rather than embellishing upon the theme. It's more effective and a lot less exhausting!
Never get into a 'whodunnit' battle. So, don't get into a battle about the truth; just jump to the consequence. State what the problem is then get them to fix/clear it up.
Another technique is 'fogging'. Agree with comments and then instruct e.g. when your child is doing homework and gets distracted saying, 'I like this song', respond with 'Yes, now back to your reading.'
My loving, good authority is the way my children learn about God's loving, good authority.
Quote is based on advice from Dr Ian Lillico, Churchill Fellow and author.
image is from TheeErin at flickr