Have you ever had to drive alone in a car with kids for ten hours or more? Don't do it. Ever. Kids know how to test your limits. I found out that my breaking point for tolerating bickering and whining boys in a small, confined space is about three hours, after which I have to pull over to the side of the freeway, cry and bang my head on the steering wheel five or six times before I can find the will to go on. I mean, asking nicely to "please calm down," was a joke. Getting firm and taking away privileges got their attention about as well as a documentary on the asexual reproduction of single celled organisms would have. Yelling until the veins in my neck bulged only fueled the fire more. Hence, a mommy melt down was the only other alternative. And you know what? It worked.
However, I don't recommend flipping your lid in order to get your children to behave well. Neither do I pretend to have a better solution for kids who WILL NOT LISTEN no matter what. Can anyone who is good with kids shed some light?