There's this perception that ignoring your kid during a tantrum is somehow failing to discipline your child. I'm here to take that misunderstanding to task. Now, I'm not saying that ignoring bad behavior is always the answer. If my daughter hits another child at the park, you can bet I'll do more than look up from my phone. Tantrums, especially by toddlers, are another story altogether. In fact, the things you're teaching your kid when you ignore them during a tantrum are extremely important lessons that will no doubt aid them in the future.
My daughter started throwing fits at around 18 months old. (Conveniently, this was just about the time my husband deployed. When we saw him during his two weeks of rest and relaxation, he asked me what I'd done with our sweet baby.) She's had a meltdown over just about everything, from the classic "I don't want to be strapped into my car seat" to the more unique "this diaper has Big Bird on it, and not Elmo." She really, really doesn't like to be told no, but this mama isn't afraid to say it. So fairly frequently I find myself faced with a monster of my own making.
I'm not emotionally numb to the cries of my child, so here's how I handle it: when my daughter has a fit, I walk away or plop her in her bedroom (or if we're in public, we find a secluded place). When she's had some time to calm down, I scoop her up and give her hugs and an opportunity to try again. Ignoring a tantrum (as long as the child is not destructive or in danger) is not a callous approach, nor is it irresponsible parenting. In my opinion, it is sanity-saving discipline with love that sends clear messages to the child, including the following: