Although you're probably still understanding less than half of what your toddler says, he's beginning to understand most of the words you use around him. He's also having a vocabulary spurt and may be putting together pairs of words, like “Me eat” or “You sit.” To reduce power struggles as your toddler strives for independence, make sure you treat him the way you'd expect to be treated by other adults. Try compromise instead of commands. Instead of “You can't play with your paints now,” you might say, “We can read a book now and you can paint later.” Instead of “You must put your toys away before dinner,” you could make it into a game: “I'll pick up the puzzle pieces while you pick up the blocks.” Even though your toddler is still focused on “me, me, me!” you can start to lay the groundwork for how to be a friend. You can teach him how to share and cooperate, and how to use words instead of physical aggression to work out disagreements. Of course, he’ll be watching you for cues to what’s expected in the adult world, so remember to do as you say!