New parents often become frightened when they hear tales of the terrible twos and the dreaded toddler tantrum. It can be difficult to understand why your toddler is misbehaving, but at this tender age, he is aware of very little apart from himself. The entire world revolves around him and his desires. Until he understands how to share things, any plaything or treat he sees belongs to him. And if he doesn't get it, he'll let you know that he's not happy.

When your toddler throws a fit, your first thought may be that everyone is staring at you and your screeching child, but your feelings of embarrassment won't resolve the situation. Moreover, as a parent, you have many more years of uncomfortable situations in your future thanks to your children. So fretting about what others think is merely going to stress you out and make you feel even worse. What you really need is a few strategies to help you survive a toddler tantrum.

* Don't get mad. When your child screams and you respond the same way, the problem becomes completely unmanageable. You'll end up in tears and your child will still be yelling. In any situation, a raised voice indicates that polite conversation has been abandoned in favor of primitive impulses. Instead, continue using the same calm tone of voice you use when your child is behaving to convince him to quiet down.

* Use punishment consistently. In the home, you might use a time out to handle a toddler tantrum or bad behavior. In public, use the same approach. Place your child on a bench for a few minutes or take him out to the car. In time he will understand that you are not a soft touch and he will begin to improve his behavior.

* Turn your back on the tantrum. This approach works best when in your own home. Out in public, you shouldn't ever leave your little one on his own in order to punish him. Good conduct in the presence of others begins in the home. Disregarding your child isn't cruel. If your little one is writhing on the floor yelling for something he wants, carry on talking to him like you don't notice anything unusual. Eventually, he will figure it out and quit screeching.

* Commend your child if he acts appropriately. Giving your child positive attention is important. Lacking positive reinforcement, a child will be naughty simply to get noticed. Acting up and having tantrums may be a cry for attention. Don't let it go that far. Clap your hands and express pleasure when he uses the potty successfully and when he tidies up his playthings. Politeness justifies your admiration too.

* Avoid granting your child's every desire. Toddlers will have a fit when they are refused something that they want. Lots of parents surrender simply to keep their little one calm but a kid catches on quickly. Fits will persist if he discovers that you will surrender eventually. Just tell him "no" and keep going.

* Go shopping after your child's nap. A toddler behaves badly more often if he is taken out when fatigued. As well, have refreshments handy at all times. Hunger and low blood sugar can easily cause a toddler tantrum. If you are away longer than anticipated and mealtime is approaching, let your child have a healthful snack to take the edge off his hunger.