Vivian has always been independent, opinionated, and strong-willed. I know that these are good qualities for her to have, but it can make things exhausting. Sometimes the littlest things can send her over the edge because things have to be just so. We have had many arguments because she can't find exactly what she's looking for, or has tragically forgotten her beloved blanket somewhere. As a means of dealing with this, as well as saving my sanity, I started implementing a bit of a mantra.
"You're in charge of your own stuff."
She likes it because it gives her responsibility and ownership over her things. I like it because it stops a lot of arguments in their tracks. "Mommy! I can't find my blanket and I want it!" "I don't know, Vivian. Who's in charge of your stuff?" "I am." And then she'll head off to find it, typically right in front of her face.
It's worked out almost too well - now she's extended it to "I'm my own boss." That part is a little trickier. I have to follow it up with, "Well, you have to listen to people like Mommy and Daddy and Grandma and Grandpa and Oma and your teachers and, and, and, and, and." She's far from being her own boss, such is the tragedy of being 4 years old. I do, however, like to tell her, "You're the boss of your own body" because that's a concept I care about very deeply. I always want her to feel confident and in charge of her own body and own person. She seems pretty content to have "I'm my own boss" morph into "I'm in charge of my body and my stuff."
So for now she's the boss in a few somewhat limited areas, and I pretend to be the boss the rest of the time.