The way you talk to your kids is super important in managing behavior. It can mean the difference between a power struggle and your kid doing just what you want. Check out these two examples: (Which one do you think will get better results?)
You also need to remember manners. You are your child's first, greatest, and best teacher. Make sure you are showing her how you want her to behave. Use please and thank you and don't forget to watch your tone. Using manners is how we show that we respect our children and how we show our children how to respect us.
Be specific with your child. Don't use "Don't." Or Stop. Or Quit.
Make sure your child knows exactly what you mean when you give her a direction.
Check out these examples:
When you use words such as 'don't,' 'stop,' or 'quit,' you are tell her she can do anything but what you just said not to do. But, when you tell her what you want her to do, you are telling her exactly what to do. There's no room for interpretation here. When you say, "Walk," she doesn't here, "Skip" or "Jump." She hears "Walk."
Here are some phrases that can be lost in translation:
Be nice: Clarify what this looks like. Being nice can mean a lot of things. Make sure your child knows what you mean by 'be nice.'
Find something to do: Do you really want to leave that direction wide open? Give them more direction than that. Tell them what to do. Give them choices. Help them figure out what to do.
Wait till your father gets home!: What? Why? Consequences should be immediate and related to the behavior. And, it takes respect away from you when you relinquish that "power" to the other parent. If she does something that requires a consequence, give her one that relates to what she has done. Keep that respect. And, make her earn hers by following through on the directions that you give her.
Praise: Make sure you are praising your child. Use specific phrases that tell your child what was good about what she did.
"Wow, you worked so hard on that assignment."
"It's so helpful to me when you set the table."
"I bet your brother loves it when you play ball with him."
Sometimes we tend to tell our children when they are 'misbehaving.'
"Pick up your clothes."
If you never praise your child, all she'll hear from you will be negative scoldings. It's okay to tell her what not to do, but make sure you're telling her what she's doing that makes you proud.
Also, make sure your child hears you and understands your directions. Get her attention and make eye contact. Tell her exactly what you want and follow through. Soon the mutual respect will be seeping out the windows of your house, car, camper, or whatever you're living in that has windows!