WANT TO STOP YELLING? KNOW YOUR TRIGGERS.
Maybe it happens frequently. Or maybe it only happened once. Suddenly, you find yourself screaming at your child. You’ve lost all control, but you don’t remember getting there. You feel ashamed and vow it will never happen again. But it does. Learning what got you there is the first step to preventing it. It’s time to know your triggers.
Parenting is overwhelming. There is so much noise and clutter, not to mention the pressure of the responsibility of teaching another human being how to survive in the world. On its own, this is enough to keep you on edge.
Add to this your own childhood messages and wounding, and you are bound to lose your cool from time to time.
Sometimes though, you may find yourself on edge more often than you would like. It is during these times when it is so easy to point out things other people are doing that are keeping you at a simmering rage. But this is precisely the time when it is time to turn in – to look within yourself for the cause and solution. By turning in, you can identify your triggers and begin to take steps to mitigate the impact those triggers have on you and those around you (mainly, your children).
A trigger is anything that causes a painful memory to resurface. Triggers can be things like:
For many parents, a popular trigger is their child’s behavior.
For example, let’s say your six-year-old loves LEGOS and plays with them every afternoon. Your child knows to put the LEGOS away when they are done playing, but this particular day, they got distracted and went outside to ride bikes with a neighborhood friend before cleaning up. You are in the middle of the late-afternoon rush of helping older kids with homework, preparing dinner, and finishing laundry before you have to take another child to soccer practice, when you walk through the living room and step on a LEGO.
First off, stepping on a LEGO really f-ing hurts. But because you are already in a frantic state of mind, stressed out about all things parenthood, you snap.
Before you know it, you are standing on the front porch screaming at your child. It might sound like:
“Get inside to clean up your toys, NOW!”
“How many times do I have to tell you to clean up your toys when you are done playing?!”
“You are always leaving your things around thinking that someone else is going to clean up after you! I AM NOT YOUR MAID!”
And it goes on and on until you either (a) run out of steam, (b) catch a reflection of yourself as you pass by the hall mirror, or (c) see yourself through your mind’s eye.
More often than not, when the raging is over, you feel ashamed, embarrassed, and unsure of where you lost control.
If you’ve ever found yourself in a situation like this, you know it is easy to think that these moments come out of left field and you’re often left feeling blindsided.
But these moments don’t come out of nowhere. There is actually a pattern, and if we look closely enough, we can become aware of it.
Your triggers are often pre-programmed behavior patterns from childhood. Sticking with the LEGO example, it is likely that this parent grew up in a household where she was expected to keep her space free of clutter at all times. Even as she was playing, there was an expectation that the space would be “organized.”
Perhaps, if this mother were to dig a little deeper, she would recognize the things that she said to her child: “How many times do I have to tell you to clean up after yourself?” “I am not your maid!”
The next time you find yourself on the backside of an outburst, think about the things that you said. Do you remember hearing those things as a kid? Chances are, you are repeating phrases that were said to you when you were a child.
RECOGNIZING THE SIGNS
As you start to build awareness around the things that you say when you are triggered, you can begin to recognize other aspects of the trigger as well.
Often time, the yelling and screaming is the final step of a trigger. That is where the trigger leads you. It is not necessarily a sign that you’ve been triggered.
A sign that you are being triggered can be:
The body will send you signals when it is feeling uneasy. Your job is to pick up on those signals and take them as a warning sign.
OVERCOMING THE TRIGGER
As you begin to build your awareness around the things that you say and the signs in your body, you can start to pay attention to what is happening around you when you begin to feel uneasy.
Pulling all of this together, you can begin to know your triggers, and know when you are headed to an outburst – giving you the time to remove yourself from the situation before you do or say anything you will later regret.
THIS TAKES PRACTICE
You won’t get this right every single time. I am nearly a decade into this journey and I still find myself reacting instead of responding.
Give yourself grace and know that even the smallest shift can have a big impact.
And if you are ready to dive deep into mindset work and releasing subconscious messaging that is showing up in your parenting, check out my 7 Step Framework. It will walk you through the process I use with my coaching clients to know their triggers, build self-awareness, and release the childhood messages they bring into their parenting.
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STOP YELLING TODAY!
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