Know your Triggers with Your Children

Loving our kids comes easy – parenting them sometimes does not.
We all aspire to raise children who are happy, resilient and well adjusted. We strive for a relationship with them that is harmonious and lovingly connected. We work hard to meet their needs, often times neglecting our own self -care so as to be available for our children. With all our best parenting intentions in hand there are times we are triggered by our children’s behavior and all calm respectful parenting goes out the door.
Each of us has our own personal triggers and emotional reactions to things. As parents, understanding our triggers and being aware of our emotional responses is critical in order for us to step up and provide the mindful parenting our children need and deserve from us every day.
There are many reasons parents report as being triggers to their children’s behavior. Of the different reasons, there are three more global reasons parents are triggered and get upset with their children.
The first is temperament. For some parents a child’s temperament may be very similar to their own temperament. These similar traits in their child’s behavior may remind a parent of parts of themselves they don’t particularly like or would prefer to change. Conversely, a child may be very different to their parent.  In this case a child’s behavior may leave the parent feeling stressed, uncomfortable or even anxious and trigger a response from the parent that is punitive and harsh.
Another big reason parent’s trigger with their children is comparing. When our children are different to our dreams or how we feel our children should be and should behave, and we compare our children to their siblings or other kids, our children fall short. Comparing your children to other children triggers frustration and disappointment. When we parent from a place of disappointment we cannot do healthy, respectful parenting.
Limiting family beliefs is a third big emotional trigger for parents. When we buy into the idea that our family needs to look, act and be a certain way we open ourselves up to judgment and criticism. We set an expectation of ‘perfection’ that we unrealistically strive to obtain.  When we feel our family is failing, when they don’t measure up to the expectations, we are triggered emotionally.
To feel more successful and confident as a parent we need to do some self-reflection. Each of us has our own issues that will impact what sets us off. Experiences from our childhood, relationships with other adults in our lives, even our work, all come into play. When we know what our triggers are we can be more mindful of them before they become big issues.
The more we open ourselves to self-reflection and awareness and embrace our areas for growth, the more growth can happen. As we grow the better we’ll be able to embrace and love ourselves, be more confident and connected in our parenting and enjoy our parenting journey.

Hayley Goldberg, LMFT
Phone: (949)233-0609
Website: Heart of Connecting