Sometimes I think parenthood is just as much about what we parents learn as what we teach our kids. I think you're asking all the right questions - think about the parents who have just given up. Can't say how many runs I've had pondering how to bring back our happy kid's sense of happiness, or how not to butt heads with our independent kid's sense of self. Can't say I've got it right, either, but the process of trying is important. And can inspire some darned good runs, too!
I recommend the Toddlercalm book, it does get better (and worse!) once they're a threenager!!