It is interesting to apply the Alpha role I have as the father in the family and the way that my children are essentially an endless stream of shit tests.
For one of my younger sons, I have found that it is best for me to simply walk away if he's being uncooperative and wants me to do something for him that I know he can do for himself. I state I will help him do the task he's asking me to do, he'll refuse, I'll state I won't do it for him and that he can do it himself. I will state that I will help him through the process.
He adamantly refuses and demands that I do it for him. He starts crying in frustration.
I'm not in the habit of begging my children, and I don't care if they start crying. I will walk away. I will not waste my time trying to yell at them into submission or try to reason with them ad nausea like I tried to do with my ex-wife. It's completely ineffective and the other party just ends up resenting you even more.
So, I just walk away and say when they want my help, I am available.
Because they are so little, I will come back a couple minutes later after they know I will simply walk away, and they are much more cooperative.
They have to know that I am willing to walk away and ignore their crying. They are NOT the center of my world. They are one child of many that I have and I have a responsibility to all the children.
In my son's particular case, he didn't know how to put his swimming suit inside out. He wanted me to do it for him, but I knew he could do it. He just didn't want to try. So the other children were playing and having fun in the pool while he couldn't get his pants on.
It took a while, but eventually he was willing to follow my instructions and for now on, it will be easier for him to pull his swimming trunks inside out.
I recall as a child as well, that I would constantly disobey on purpose to mess around with whoever attempted to exert "authority" over me. It's an unconscious test to see if the adult is a strong enough person that I can rely on.
Even when I was a camp counselor to younger children when I was in late high school and college, I always notice that the "problem" children were always drawn to me. Probably because I didn't pander to them or overreact in scolding. I would generally talk to them like they could rationalize things, and I would call them out on their bullshit like I would to any other adult that had the same behavior.
We're talking about kids with ADHD. They always respected me and would behave with me when they wouldn't with anyone else.
I am extremely direct and truthful, the children can't say or do anything that will shock me, and I can exercise my wit and play with them with genuine enjoyment that they recognize.