Tantrums are one of the more fun aspects of motherhood and unless you're extraordinarily lucky you will experience the tantrum or 10 during your parenthood journey. Don't panic, there's absolutely nothing wrong with your child. Tantrums are a normal part of a child's development. It is simply his way of venting his frustration that he is not able to communicate or be understood.
It is essential to understand that your child's brain is still developing. The part of the brain that contains impulse control takes years to fully develop so it is virtually impossible for a toddler to reign in his behavior in a rational way. We know that tantrums are not only characteristic of a toddler but are generally unavoidable too, so what can we do to minimize them and handle ourselves and our children with dignity rather than frustration.
Most tantrum-avoidance techniques are common sense. Children work better when they have a clear routine, when they know what is coming. Try to stick to the plans and remember to observe your child's mood. We all know when a tantrum is about to explode. You can avoid them by stepping in before things get hairy. Providing lots of things to keep them engaged and occupied is also key to side stepping the oftentimes embarrassing tantrum.
When a tantrum does roll in, I find that ignoring it can work wonders if my child hasn't wound himself up too much. If he's going nuts, I try to ground him by giving him a cuddle and speaking calmly to him, trying to get to the root of the problem in his eyes. Of course sometimes, I am too heated and can't always focus on these strategies. If you find yourself getting upset or annoyed, try some relaxation tricks on yourself and then deal with your screaming child. A great piece of advice my friend Helen Preston gave about tantrums is to "act like every action between you and your child is being broadcast on live TV so you need to keep your cool at all times". I think this is a great way to handle yourself.
The important thing to remember is that most children outgrow tantrums and the way we deal with them while they are happening is crucial to preventing them from happening again.