My almost five-year-old has begun to act quite disrespectfully toward me and her dad and often disregards everything we say. The battles over basics like picking up her own toys and clothes were becoming exasperating. I too have begun to "describe the problem," rather than asking her to do things that I expect her to do as part of a member of our family.
"There are toys underneath the dining table that belong in your room."
"It's your job to put your toys back where they belong."
"Toys that are left out will be put in storage."
I find it so much easier to maintain my equanimity when I am just describing the situation rather than asking. I realized that part of *my* irritation was that I do not like having to ask that these things be done...I would feel like I was asking her to do me a *favor* and of course, since I want to model good manners, I would say, "please" with all my requests and would feel like pleading. By simply describing the problem, I don't put myself in the position of asking her to do things that are her responsibilities. I just tell her what I expect.