I got to hear Diane Moore today, the author of the book Parenting the Heart of Your Child. The morning was full - absolutely FULL - of wonderful nuggets upon which to chew. So that I don't forget what I heard, I am going to put a couple of my favorite nuggets here!
Whenever possible, when dealing with obstinant behavior, put yourself in the role of judge and jury. Do not put yourself in the place of lawyer (therefore giving - quite by accident - your child the same role). Its the difference between leaving the room or not.
"But I don't wanna clean my room!!!"
"I asked you to clean your room and I expect you to obey."
A judge and jury walks out at this moment (insert the wham! of a gavel here), reinforcing the fact that this case is closed. A lawyer stands in the room, arms crossed, inviting the other lawyer in the room to present his closing arguments.
When I leave, my child then has two choices: continue the defiance, or comply. And when I come back in the room and it is not clean, my next move is plain and simple to the both of us. He will not be surprised when I come back in and say, "I asked you to clean your room and you did not. You disobeyed mommy and now I will give you a spanking." (And, for the record, after the spanking the calm and collected question is, "are you ready to obey now?")