Triggers: How to recognize them and move on.

I have lately found myself getting more upset and becoming less understanding/gentle with my toddler now that she can really express herself and it’s taken me a while to realize that it is because of triggers… I have decided that I really need to name these triggers and see exactly why it is I am triggered by them so that I can stop myself ahead of time from saying things or doing things that I eventually regret.

  1. Being yelled at – When Aubrey is screaming at me to do something for her. This makes my blood boil. I just hate being yelled at and I’m going to say that it’s from my childhood *my dad was a huge yeller amongst other things* but this is not an excuse. My father does not have the power to yell at me anymore. He has no control over my life. My daughter isn’t yelling at me, she is just trying to communicate and maybe if I would stop what I am doing and get to her level and just listen she wouldn’t feel the need to be so overwhelmingly loud.
  2. Whining & crying – I feel like this being a trigger for me is horrible. I completely understand what it is like to be told to stop whining or stop crying and I should never want my daughter to feel the way that makes you feel. For some reason both of these things just drive me crazy and I really just need to get over it and instead figure out what the problem is… I have been reading a lot about how I should deal with my daughter’s intense emotions and I have been looking to this for help and also this to just remind me how I need to just calmly take action instead of reacting and making things so much worse…(just an FYI, we don’t believe in crying it out and that isn’t what she is talking about in this article – she is saying they thought she needed to CIO but really it was meant as a “giving space” technique.)
  3. Not listening – This is something I am really just getting over. I realize that she cannot really listen and that I need to stop expecting anything from her. Some days I am lazy and tired and would just really love for her to be able to play independently without climbing up on the counter, taking the vegan parmesan and dumping it all over the floor…but she needs to be supervised instead of me sitting on the couch and not knowing what she is up to and I need to realize that her doing that thing even though she was told not to, is not something she can grasp yet. For the most part that I can deal with…where I usually lose it though is when I am saying, “Aubrey, please stop climbing on me because you’re really hurting me by doing that” and she looks at me and laughs. I know it is silly for me to become ridiculously angry over that because obviously she is just trying to play but IT HURTS! Having to remove myself from the situation when I may be nursing her brother or not feeling well is just extremely annoying for me & also I think I take it a little personally, like “why are you wanting to hurt me?” which is even sillier because she isn’t! I know she isn’t! She just wants to play and is finding any way to get my attention so she can connect with me and here I am freaking out about it.

Now that I have determined (in writing) my triggers and why they are triggering and how I can deal with them, I need to put it to practice. I feel like this is the hardest part but I am going to take some basic things that will help me calm down and do them whenever I feel overwhelmed with emotion due to these triggers and hopefully with a lot of practice it will become more natural for me. Here are some things to do before speaking to your child while dealing with triggers:

  • Take a deep breath
  • Remove yourself from the situation for a minute to re-group
  • Remove everyone from the situation – Sometimes just taking a break and running around outside or going for a walk really fixes everything!
  • Dance party. Just stop and turn on some music and get you and your toddler or baby moving!
  • Find a mantra and make it YOUR mantra. Something loving and supportive you can say to yourself to remind yourself that you can do it and you and your child will be happier if you do.
  • STOP what you’re doing and just sit and listen.

I hope you guys can use this to help you out too. Being a parent is hard but we can all improve and find ways to make it more fun and less stressful. Let’s all find our zen together, ay? 🙂

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