I created a parenting concept for our house, and those I've shared it with have asked that I share it more often. I want you all to know that this is something that I feel strongly about, and that it works well not just for my kids, but for we parents as well. In fact, I find it works in any situation, with any human being, anywhere. As always, your mileage may vary.
The Kid Isn't The Problem, The Problem Is The Problem
When I have a problem that concerns one of my kids (meaning: When I want them to do something that they refuse to do), I see that I have a choice. I could visualize my child standing on the other side of a line, next to The Problem, with me yelling across the line, "Hey, The Problem is yours! You better solve The Problem." Instead, I get myself to stand next to my child, with The Problem alone on the other side of the line, with me putting an arm around my child, saying "Hey, you and me, we're gonna defeat The Problem together." I find that this attitude seems to make my kids feel better about themselves. They feel accompanied during these moments. They feel respected. They feel uniquely empowered. It also minimizes or eliminates shame. Best of all, it greatly increases the chance that The Problem will be eliminated.
Please note that you can replace Kid with Parent, Brother, Sister, Friend, Neighbor, Boss, Co-worker, Waiter, Sales Clerk, etc.
Note: This concept won "Best Parenting Hack of 2006," awarded by Parent Hacks.