When I wrote last about my parenting style, R was only 8 months old and I didn't have to worry about discipline. Instead, I just did whatever R wanted (with the exception of sleeping, because I like my rest). This might have been better for R (though who knows, really?): it was definitely easier for me, and above all my parenting decisions are about what's personally most pleasant.
Sadly, the days of R's and my interest being one are gone. Her need for discipline started making itself felt at 12 months. Now she's 18 months and in full-on toddler mode, which means defiance, being negative, temper tantrums and other antisocial behavior.
Once if she didn't do what I wanted, it was because she didn't understand what I was asking. Now she understands everything, but deliberately chooses to defy me. Sometimes this is for fun (like when she runs away from me shrieking with laughter), sometimes it's out of anger (like when she starts throwing all her food on the floor because I won't let her stand up in the high chair), sometimes it's just general muleheadness (like when she can't put on her own shoes but won't let me do it either). She also "tests" a lot, where she does forbidden things when she knows I am watching, just to see how I will react.
All of this irritating behavior is because she wants to know what the rules are. If they are not absolutely clear, she will keep pushing and pushing until she reverts into extreme naughtiness. So I've had to change my parenting style considerably.
Now there are rules for everything. If she breaks the rules, then she is reminded, scolded or punished (depending on the severity of the infraction). I feel a little bit like a policeman, patrolling my beat looking for signs of trouble: which I greatly dislike, because 1. it's a lot of work (see: my preference for easy parenting) and 2. it appeals too much to a side of my personality I dislike. Unfortunately there is no way around it. With constant rules (and enforcement), R is generally pleasant and fun to be around: if I slack, she quickly reverts into a hellion, miserable herself and causing misery to all around her.
Eating: R is only allowed to eat at certain times (breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner), in certain places (her high chair), and to some extent, certain types of food. Outside of meals, all she is allowed is plain rice cakes (as they aren't messy or filling) and water.
Exploration: There are so many rules here, about where (no climbing on tables), when (no looking through the drawers unless supervised), how (the words "careful" and "soft" and "not in the mouth" get a lot of play). While most things aren't forbidden, they all have guidelines: this means R can't ever be unsupervised, because she is not trustworthy yet.
Discipline: I used to arrange things to avoid telling her no. Now I arrange them in order to tell her no. For example, I introduced her to TV, but she's only allowed to watch it after 5 pm for 30 minutes/day. Her frequent asking to watch more is a perfect opportunity for her to learn that 1. she is not in charge and 2. I am. Since this is the most crucial piece of information for her to pick up over the next few months, I feel the more practice the better.
Behavior Modification: I am still really affectionate for no particular reason. But I now absolutely try to shape her behavior, both by noticing good things she's done (When helping me load laundry: "R, you are so helpful!") and not-so-good (Having tried to bite me: "Now you must be separated from me" and behind the baby gate she goes.) In general I use more subtle methods for punishment: ignoring behavior I don't like, frowning and saying "I don't like that", etc., because why go for the scorched earth policy? The biggest tool in my arsenal is still R's desire to please me (strong if sometimes temporarily interrupted).
Soothing: I let R have tantrums by herself now (instead of soothing her), which she prefers as usually she is having one because I forbade something. I tell her she can come see me for a hug when she's ready: usually she will come find me in 3 or 5 minutes. I still spend a lot of time helping her regulate her emotional state though (aka, helping her prevent tantrums): this is important as she's still working on her coping skills for dealing with frustration and disappointment.
Not surprisingly, I find this stage of parenting is much more work, by an order of magnitude. I practiced a lot of "benign neglect" during her infancy and later babyhood, but right now there is no such thing: any neglect results in very bad outcomes. I am definitely looking forward to the time when R has finally learned all the rules and expectations and become more civilized, because I certainly plan to revert to benign neglect as soon as is practical.