We've officially had a 2 year-old on our hands for a little over a month, and let me tell you, it was as if a switch went off on his 2nd birthday and J became an independent, bossy, disagreeable toddler! No, of course all his sweetness isn't lost, but some days he's just a whirlwind of orneriness and combativeness. As the picture indicates, I think he's donned his battle armor and is prepared to duke it out with Mama & Daddy.
So, likewise, we've been forced to create our own little arsenal, stepping up a notch from the stern looks, threats, and soft-spoken mini-lectures. I've recruited family, friends, the pediatrician, books and web sites to help me figure out the best course of action.
Babycenter recently (and coincidentally) emailed me the discipline tool kit for toddlers, which suggests distraction, substitution, offering choices, reducing the amount of times you say "No", and trying to respect the situations in which your toddler says "No". (Yeah, that last one is interesting, huh...)
Among the many parenting, childhood development and discipline books out there, I have found one to be remarkably eye-opening, exciting and helpful. Beyond Time Out: From Chaos to Calm by Beth Grosshans. I wouldn't say that our home has become complete chaos, but the book was featured in PW and I decided it wouldn't hurt to look at it since time-outs haven't been especially working for us. I don't completely buy in to the author's way of thinking (WARNING: she does somewhat knock attachment parenting, co-sleeping and Pleaser parents who tend to talk things out w/their kids all the time), but the book has definitely armed me with some effective parenting tools and taught me a lot about the insticts, motives, and needs of young children. In fact, once I finish the book I could see myself writing an entire post just on the things I have come away with.
Aside from these pointers, I'm just trying to ratchet up the patience! What's working for you?