My 8-year old son came to me complaining about his 6-year old sister not wanting to help clean up. He was very upset because he has put away a lot of things, and the two things that he requested his younger sister to clean up, she wouldn’t.
I inquired if he asked his sister in a nice way. He muttered under his breath, and then marched to talk to his sister again.
Then I heard him grunt, groan, whine, and command his sister to do what he was demanding her to do. My daughter ignored him again.
My son stormed back to my bedroom to gripe. This time I told him that if he wants to be followed, he needed to be a better leader.
A great leader is calm, but assertive (not aggressive).
I suggested that he talk to her again in a calm voice (since he really did not do it the first time around), and explain why he thinks she should help clean up. (I think I threw in as an example a former teacher that he dislikes because she was, in his words, bossy.)
He went down the stairs again to face his sister, but this time he was much more calm. I heard him say,
I think you should put these toys away because I already put everything away. We should help each other clean the house if we want a play date. Please put these two things back to the bedroom.
Just like a charm, the younger sister did what she was told to do.
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I am just grateful that it did that time. It was 10AM on a Saturday morning, and I really didn’t want to put my book down and get out of bed.