Please don't assume that what works for one child would just work for every child if only their parents would do it better.
Thank you for saying this, CakeEater. My DS is the same as yours. Nothing worked, even when we did it consistently.
Fortunately now that he's four, he has outgrown a lot of the frustrating behaviors. Hang in there, it will get better.
Yes, I'm hanging out for him to grow out of this horrible toddler thing. And I struggle to keep a smile on my face when the 15th person tells me to 'enjoy them when they're little, they grow up too fast!' The faster, the better at this point! I've given DH permission to slap me over the head if I say that to anyone when my kids are older.
Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not advocating that people do nothing when their kids throw tantrums, or that consistency isn't important. I think, as a general principal, that consistency is a great idea, and that people should work towards helping their kids learn that tantrums aren't a good way to behave.
I'm just very cautious about judging a particular parent's whole parenting ability from the one or two, or even five instances you see them doing what you think is the wrong thing in that situation.
My 4-year-old DD has autism, and while we're very lucky that she has very few of the sensory issues that affect many kids with that condition, one she does have problems with is wet clothes. If her clothes get wet, it's a sensation she finds absolutely intorerable. She had very little language to communicate this up until quite recently, so would let loose with a lot of screaming and struggling to get the offending piece of clothing off.
The goal, worked out with our therapists, was to extend the time she could put up with wet clothes, but to get them off pretty quickly. So if we are out, and a splash of a drink gets on her T-shirt, things get pretty loud. I'm sure it looks, to casual passersby, as though I'm giving in to a tantrum when I'm doing exactly what she wants while she's screaming. But that's not what I'm doing at all. I'm removing the source of the tantrum, which will not stop until the sensation is removed. She is getting a lot better about being able to tolerate this sensation, and now she has more language, she's much more able to ask for a dry shirt than scream.
And she has stopped the screaming, even while I 'gave in' to it every single time, because the cause wasn't bad behaviour. She's also quite tall for her age, so I'm sure it looked like she was too old to be crying like that, and that I was a terrible parent for doing what she wanted. The proof that I was, in fact, doing exactly the right thing is that she has worked out how to deal with this issue, and it's no longer an issue, usually.