There is a stage when toddlers test your limits, and assert their independence. This shows as the toddler being defiant. I'm not sure if all toddlers go through this, I guess a lot do, and Marek has just become one of them that do. How now? A lot of times there's power struggle-- sometimes we give in, other times he ends up crying or having tantrums, and some other times we just ignore his misbehaviour. On occasions, we are able to reason out with him and he understands, but sometimes he knows what is right but insists on what is wrong just so he could have his way.
Expert advice (What to Expect.com) includes: focusing on the positive, mean it when you say "no", and be consistent about the consequences; and by prevention-- explaining the reasons behind the rules, reducing unnecessary "no", not to admonish prematurely, encouraging self control, and acknowledging good behaviour.
Now, to help me know how to handle situations better, and for better parenting's sake, I'm reading the following the books: 12 Simple Secrets Real Moms Know by Michele Borba, and Masterly Inactivity by Sonya Shafer. And I'm seriously considering buying Laying Down the Rails: A Charlotte Mason Habits Handbook, also by Sonya Shafer thru Simply Charlotte Mason.com.
I pray I can handle this phase well, be able to set rules that can be (and ought to be) followed without crushing spirits.