When 2-year-old Kendall Isaak sees a toy she wants at the store, her mom suggests they put it on her birthday wish list. "When we get home, we write it down together," says Kristy Isaak, of Manhattan Beach, CA. "Kendall doesn't have a fit because she knows I take the time to listen to her when she wants something." At the same time, Isaak avoids caving in and creating a greed-monster.
The way you respond to your toddler's behavior shapes her future actions. Now the rub: How do you teach good behavior to a not-yet-rational, nonverbal child, whose understanding of the finer concepts -- such as manners, sharing, and empathy, not to mention personal safety -- is primitive to nonexistent?
Start with a lot of patience and practice, and follow some simple rules of discipline, and before you know it, your tyrannical toddler will be a pleasant preschooler.
From the Parenting Guide to Your Toddler by Paula Spencer, with the editors of Parenting magazine, published by Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, Inc.