That's a good way to put it.
I do know what you mean, boomer. I think maybe when we were talking about what a little monster sozlet was right after we moved I mentioned something like this -- that while I got it, I simultaneously didn't want to condone behavior that was unacceptable.
I think DrewDad's distinction is a good way to divide the parts of it. On the one hand, the little monster is pissing you off. Being pissed off is never a really good place to come from, discipline-wise (some exceptions). So if you can draw that emotional line -- OK, it's annoying as hell but it's developmentally normal/ to be expected given the circumstances/ whatever -- then you can kind of take a deep breath and then figure out how to handle it from a less emotional place.
And I don't think that a problematic phase should be given the hands-off-treatment -- I think it should be made clear throughout that the behavior is unacceptable. There can listening and contextual stuff too, like, I dunno, giving him more responsibilities that he CAN handle, so he's feeling a little more autonomous and you have something to praise... that is, addressing the underlying issue, if there is one.
But even that won't necessarily "fix" the problem -- which is where knowledge that it will end at some point because it's "just a phase" can help you get through it.