Once you and your baby have survived that sleep-deprived and often anxiety-filled first year, you'll be ready for Harvey Karp's The Happiest Toddler on the Block. The cover describes this book as: "The New Way to Stop the Daily Battle of Wills and Raise a Secure and Well-Behaved One- to Four-Year-Old." You might call Karp the Toddler Whisperer. He recommends that to understand toddlers, parents should "take a giant step . . . backward." Toddlers are like Neanderthals, maintains Karp, also the author of The Happiest Baby on the Block. He groups them into categories: Charming Chimp Child (12 to 18 months); Knee-High Neanderthal (18 to 24 months); Clever Cave-Kid (24 to 36 months); and Versatile Villager (36 to 48 months). In times of trouble, these groups need to be addressed in their own language, which Karp calls "Toddler-ese," communication defined by short phrases, lots of repetition and exaggerated facial expressions.
Parents should also abide by the "Fast-Food Rule," which means that during a tantrum you need to repeat your child's "order" (what he wants), before you tell him your "price" (what you want).
I'm not sure whether Karp's strategies work, but they seem to make sense. If I'd had this book when my kids were toddlers, I definitely would've given these methods a try. They're certainly based on a solid foundation of good communication, love, respect and calmness.