Parenting Triggers and Why It Happens to the Best of Us

Have you ever found yourself calm one minute and then yelling at your kids the next? Been so upset with your kid you ended up crying yourself? Felt like the way you reacted was completely uncalled for, yet somehow uncontrollable? Be honest, mamas and papas, we’ve all been there. We’ve been triggered. Whether we’re aware of our triggers or are subconsciously affected by them, it’s important to start the conversion on this and learn how to do better and be better for our children. In this article, we talk about how these parenting triggers are deeply rooted in our own personal issues as well as what we can do about them. Keep on reading with an open mind and you may just thank yourself later.

The How's and Why's of Parenting Triggers

What are parenting triggers?

Parenting Triggers are a subconscious change in emotions when your child does something that suddenly makes you feel exasperated or affected. Once triggered, parents often don’t take the time to pause and think about the best way to respond and instead allow emotions to take over. The most common emotional response once triggered is anger, which can be displayed as yelling, scolding, or intentionally showing your child that you are upset. Sound familiar yet? Keep going.


What are some common parenting triggers?

Every parent is different in the same way children are all different. Parenting triggers can come in many shapes and forms, but we’ve listen some of the most common ones to give you a better idea:

  • Crying
  • Whining
  • Disobedience
  • Disrespect
  • Clinginess
  • Fights Among Siblings
  • Tantrums

If you really want to identify your triggers, all you have to do is pay attention. Be aware of how you respond to your kids when they display any of the listed behaviors and look for patterns. Take note of the times you catch yourself excessively angry or questioning how you felt after an exchange with your children. What caused this reaction from me? Why did I react so differently? Does this reaction feel familiar?


Where do these triggers come from?

Past experiences from childhood may eventually evolve into parenting triggers. If you feel disrespected when your child disagrees with you or challenges your opinion, it may be because you were punished for doing the same when you were younger. Another example would be if you are overprotective of your child in social situations, it may be because you were bullied yourself when you were younger and want to prevent your child from going through the same. There are numerous other parenting triggers we could list, but the point here is the same—past events still have the power to affect us and how we interact with our families, even when we’re not aware of it.


How can you handle your parenting triggers?

Once you’ve identified your parenting triggers, you can start dealing with them. Talk to your partner and share exactly what you’re thinking and feeling when you’re triggered. It might help uncover any unresolved emotions you need to deal with. You can also ask for their support to intervene when necessary and remind you to calm down before reacting. If you realize you’ve been triggered only after the fact, don’t beat yourself too much over it. Work it out with your child and be a model of how to apologize genuinely. It can’t always be helped that as parents, we sometimes let our emotions get the better of us, but what we can decide on is what we do about it. May we always be mindful of our children and their feelings, so that they don’t find themselves in the same situation with their children in the future.


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