This is a delicate one. Many rules that were followed could be seen as immoral (i.e. Hitler, Milgram Experiment, Strip Search Call Scam). The "Strip Search Call Scam" really bothered me as a teenager was one of the victims and when asked why they allowed it to happen they responded (paraphrased by me), "I was always taught to listen to adults."
I don't think we should raise obedient children but children who follow their instincts and are encouraged to fight for what they believe in. I think we get caught up with preparing a child for school and telling them to "always listen to the teacher" but I think there are other ways of handling that like, "Pay attention to the lesson. I can't wait to hear what you learned today."
We teach our daughter (will be 3 in April) that "Santa" is the spirit of giving and anybody can be Santa. So we tell her that Mommy Santa got her this gift and Nana Santa got her that gift. When she gave gifts to her cousins, she was being Santa. I also showed her the Christmas cards we got showing different Santa's and that it is just a costume.
I would personally diffuse the image of this one person judging little kids first and in a different setting, not when he is calling you naughty. If he continues to call you naughty, I would say in response something along the lines of,
- Dinner is when we get together to catch up with everybody and have a little quieter time together without distractions (said this recently when my daughter threw a tantrum when dinner interrupted her watching a show)
- We don't throw our Legos because that's how we lose the pieces and we won't have them to play with anymore
- We put our things away so we know where to find them tomorrow
I read that it is not worth reasoning with children under 7 because their emotions are not stable but I disagree. I even reversed a rule on my daughter yesterday which was, "when the paper is white you can use a marker" to avoid bleeding on the next page. I started to feel that this might be inhibiting her creativity so I said, "you can use a marker if you are okay with it bleeding." Sometimes she uses the marker and sometimes she doesn't. I like giving a reason because it points out cause and effect. Consistency is key so it will take some persistence for a child to adjust to the new rules.