Our toddler is demanding these days and asserting himself more strongly than ever before. He screams 'no!' when he doesn't want to do something and shouts demands at us when he does. We are trying to teach him that screaming at us isn't appropriate, but it is a challenge.
In considering how to help him through this phase I realized that we were doing two things that were exacerbating the situation. Both involving listening skills:
The first was that he often started out asking us questions in a quiet voice, but if we were talking to each other or distracted we were not always hearing him or we were hearing him, but not responding quickly enough for his toddler-level of patience. So then he would resort to shouting at us in desperation. We are now trying to be more aware of this so we don't let him get to that level of frustration, while also trying to teach him that we can't always respond instantly to his requests.
The other thing was that we were asking him questions when we should have been making statements. For example: we would ask him if he would like to have a bath and he would respond 'no' and then we would ignore the answer he gave us and say "well, it is bath time" and proceed to put him in the bath. No wonder he was ticked off! If we weren't going to take his answer seriously why did we even ask? So we are trying hard to make sure that when we ask a question we are prepared to respect his response, otherwise we don't frame it as a question.
That isn't to say he doesn't get to make some decisions about his life, we will ask questions where his answers can be respected, such as what toy would you like to play with? Would you rather a banana or cheese for your snack? Do you want to wear this blue shirt or the red one?
Sometimes these things work and sometimes he still gets mad and yells. But we are working through it.
Here are some tips I found that seem pretty sensible.
8 Tools (Dr. Sears)
And of course there are dozens of books on the subject.
If you have ideas about toddler discipline you'd like to share leave a comment or email me.