It doesn’t matter in the least if your ‘two-ness’ is in the past or happening right now; those words bring up definite feelings of dread, anxiety, fear, and not a small desire for vodka and soda.
My tiny terror is a smart, horrid, fierce, loving, independent, terrible, sweet, defiant, adorable little tornado packed to the gills with NO’s, and I bet yours is too. She brings out the best and the worst in me when she is stretching her wings (and limits), and I have lost my cool with her more times than I can count.
The problem is me, of course. She is behaving exactly as she is supposed to! She has these huge feelings that she doesn’t understand, and a massive desire to do what she wants to do without enough comprehension to understand why that can’t happen all the time. And in the heat of the moment, with a toddler thrashing around her room because I won’t give her a chocolate bar right before bed, is when I am supposed to keep cool and collected and either a.) not react or b.) react with calm confidence.
I don’t know about you, but I didn’t come equipped with the ability for either of those things when faced with a two-year-old. I didn’t know how to react well without feeling like I was giving in (and therefore teaching her to walk all over me) or without feeling like I was losing the control I felt I needed to have over her.
This is the place I was in when a friend posted on Facebook about reviewing an app called Taming Tantrums (click to find it in iTunes, and here for Android) by Andrea Nair, a psychotherapist and parenting educator.. I didn’t really see how it would work unless I threw my phone at my daughter and it knocked some sense into her, but since I was at the end of my rope I figured it certainly wouldn’t hurt to try something different.
I was really skeptical about it, and didn’t bother looking at it too much other than to learn quick navigation. The way the app is organized into categories (Defiance, Tantrums, Whining, Biting/Throwing, to name just a few), with each category filled with things to say in the heat of the moment, makes it so easy to use. I wanted to see how it performed in a pinch so I decided to save the really in-depth look at the app for when I was…well, in a pinch.
So there we were, in mid-screaming match (her…mostly) at 6:15 a.m. She was crying on the floor, and I was losing my mind because this was the third day that week I was late for work. I grabbed my phone and scrolled quickly to the Defiance tab. I opened it up and read the first thing in the list, and…
She stopped. She looked at me, took a few sobby gulps of air and came over to me for a hug. I kid you not, we left the house five minutes later.
I was floored. I didn’t even remember exactly what I had said to her until later, when I had a chance to really sit down with the app and read it through. It is filled to the brim with amazing things to say and do with your toddler when they are in the midst of a tantrum, having a potty time meltdown, and even things to say when your child hits or bites.
It is quick and easy-to-use when you are losing your mind and do not have it in you to think of the right thing to say. Even if the app wasn’t loaded with seriously helpful information, even knowing that I have it in my back pocket and that I’m not here alone with this little inferno makes me feel that much more capable of dealing with the tantrums.
And as skeptical as I was about stopping to look at my phone mid-battle, it actually gave me the few seconds I needed to take a breath and regroup. Reading quickly through the list to find something appropriate to say allowed me time to calm down, and in hindsight, it gave her a few seconds out of firing range too.
Later that night, I sat down and read every piece in every category. And promptly forgot it all during the next morning’s tantrum, but instead of buying into it I took out my phone and did it again. And again that night before bath time, and yet again at bedtime, with each tantrum lessening in intensity and duration. This app has saved my sanity, and given me much healthier ammunition to use when things get heated.
I still feel my blood boil sometimes when she is at her worst (because there is no app in the world that is going to stop toddlers from enraging us), but instead of engaging with her in a battle of wills we both get the moments we need away from each other. There are going to be times when you lose it anyway, whether you use it or not, but there is a section in there that will talk you off that guilt ledge too.
It has saved me more times than I can count in the month that I have had it, and while I am physically referring to less often, it is my go-to resource for any questions I have about pretty much any behavioral situation.
If you have a toddler of any age and are struggling with tantrums or any other type of behavioral issue, you need this app.