My wife and I adopted 2 beautiful boys last year, and one of the things that having them in our lives has done for us is to make us realize this:
All kids want some form of control over their environment and what happens to them.
That is, they want to have a say in what choices they have on a daily basis, and they do better when they have them.
In our case, even more so because our kids have had few — if any — choices from the time they were born until they ended up in our family.
Some studies have illustrated quite clearly that kids do better when they have a say in their choices. Bruce Feiler, author and New York Times columnist, tried it in the form of "family meetings" where the kids could decide their own rewards and punishments for their behavior and accomplishments during the previous week.
The results startled even him.
His book, The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Tell Your Family History, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More, digs into the concepts in wonderful ways.
And there are a bunch more of his videos on Big Think, too. Go check 'em out!