Mamaduck, such wisdom. I always look forward to reading what you have to say. In my mind I picture you as this sage on a mountain top
It's so hard letting them have the last word! Esspecially when the people who are "encouraging"me (dh, mil, mom) always tell me-- "Never ever let them win or they'll run all over you". But you're right.
And I'm sure some of the behavior stems from the new baby in the house. And I'm trying everyday to not let the things I have to do with her interfere with my relationship with the boys. Its really hard though. A lot of times it seems like they intentionally put me in the position of choosing between them or her just to see who I'm going to choose (or in their minds who do I love more). But I can't just lay her down and let her cry, KWIM? I need some way to explain to them why her needs a lot of times comes first. I can't just tell her, "Sorry honey, I know you need to nurse but I have to play baseball first."
I totally agree too, that the way you say things is soooo important. Same concept I think as the old saying--you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. And I too do the singing trick when its hard to muster a nice voice. Also, because I tend to yell a lot, when I get the urge to scream something, I've been trying to whisper it instead. Don't ask me why, but they seem to hear me better when I whisper as opposed to yell. I guess because they have to really focus their attention on me to hear what I'm saying.
I have to get that book!!! I really would like some insight as to the emotions behind his behavior. To me, if I don't understand his emotions its like taking medicine to supress symptoms and not getting to the real cause of the illness.
Thanks again guys for all your motherly wisdom