Friday, July 12, 2013

Week 1 -Triggers and Emotions

Welcome to the Peaceful Parenting Challenge Blog Carnival: Week #1 Creating Awareness.
This post was written for inclusion in the 10 Week Peaceful Parenting Challenge Blog Carnival hosted by Prenatal to Parenting. This week our participants have written about creating awareness. We hope you enjoy this week’s posts and consider joining us next week when we share about a week of Mindful Breathing.

Here is the first week's challenge:

Week #1: Creating Awareness
Exercise: What are your triggers? Write in your journal when you notice yourself getting frustrated, upset, and angry and becoming reactive. Just notice these emotions, these reactions and make note of them. Don’t try to change them just yet. At the end of the week complete the identifying your triggers exercise, Journal your experience of becoming more familiar with your triggers; how do they affect you? Was it helpful to identify them? What have you learned from this week’s exercise?


I look back on my week and I pretty much knew what I knew before the week began. My triggers are often when my children are hurting each other or myself. I am usually tired, hungry or overwhelmed thinking about things I think I must get done. My children react to my negative emotions immediately. If I am upset or angry or frustrated, they are the first to call me on it. "Mommy, are you sad? Do you need a hug. Mommy, no crying." Sometimes they react by acting out worse or fighting with each other.

I'm potty training my 2 year old and I get upset when he pees on the floor or poops and brings it to me in his hand. Yup, that happened.

Triggers : 
Messes frustrate me. My 2 year old tends to spill, drip and dump everything all day long. It's hard. I walk around cleaning up after a tiny tornado. More often I get him to clean it up, but it's never ending. I realize it is a faze. I keep telling myself they all go through it, just as his older 4 year old brother did. I know it gets better. I know it's a faze, but it can be difficult to keep calm. This usually happens when I am in a hurry, or I am trying to clean up the house. Do they feel ignored? Are they acting out for attention? I know about misguided behavior, but I still feel what I feel inside. It's my responsibility to teach them how to handle their emotions by showing them what to do when upset. We know that children learn best by copying what they see.

I get upset when they are kicking me or each other. This is a fast angry trigger. I find I react by almost shouting, "HEY!" A friend of mine mentioned using a low tone instead, so I have been trying this. It has worked so far and it's better than giving into the impulse to yell. It is hard to be calm, repetitive, kind and firm all the time.

Other triggers are my phone battery dying (all the time), computer breaking or glitching when I am working. At the end of a long day when the boys won't go to bed well, I find I definitely feel like I'll loose my marbles. This is usually due to my lack of consistency. Often I ask my husband for help in this case.

My Audience: 
My kids and sometimes my husband, but mostly myself. It's important to know who's watching you. What are they learning from your actions. I try to remember this the most and I am usually more successful at being a consistent, calm parent when I remember who is watching = my children.

My response: 
Mostly my anger is a physical response. I feel hot, tense and want to throw or smash something when I felt angry. I grit my teeth, growl or go into another room. I scream in a pillow or tense up my entire body. I try to take deep breathes and came out of the room within a few minutes. Anger and frustration with irritability were my main emotions when triggers happened. 

When I am angry I growl, breath deep, whistle uncomfortably (which I thought was super weird and didn't know I did that), walk out of the room, hide in the bathroom for a few minutes, stomp, clean the house roughly, turn on music and try singing. These have been my coping mechanisms. I am not entirely sure if the way I act when I am angry teaches them the right things or not. They are coping skills I do to avoid yelling and throwing things.

I notice my boys are starting growl when they get mad and they cross their arms and say, I'm angry!" I don't mind this, as I know it is much better than hitting or yelling. If the say, "I don't like mommy!" I usually say to them, "You can say your angry at mommy, but not that you don't like her." They usually repeat it, "I'm angry at mommy." I tell them it's ok to be mad at me and I still love them. On good days I explain that mommy is frustrated and needs a break. I talk about my emotions a lot. I ask for their help. They usually want to help and are quick to 'try to make it ok.'

My frustrations and anger do not last long, sometimes minutes. But it feels like a long time. I have a good husband and often I take a time out or leave the house for 'coffee drive through' and when I return I feel loads better. I want the kids to hear me when I ask my husband for help. I think it's good to know when to ask for others to step in.

I think I know my triggers pretty well. I don't always know how to deal with my anger when I am home alone with the kids. I give them lots of love and attention, so I don't feel too bad when I do get angry and upset. I am allowed to have these emotions. I wonder what next weeks challenge will be. This one was hard. Having to write down these feelings felt a bit embarrassing, even though I know they are normal. I also felt the emotion so much greater when I wrote it on paper.

Until next week.

Amanda - Baby Sign Language Instructor
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Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
Balancing being a stay-at-home-mom & working from home – Sarah from Prenatal to Parenting realizes her home base business and mommy duties don’t mix well.
My Top Card - Amber from shares her experience attending the Peaceful Parenting Mini Retreat.
Peaceful Parenting Challenge Week 1 - Katrina from Kalem Photography explores her expectations on herself and asking for help.
Peaceful Parenting Challenge Week 1: Awareness – Jennifer from The Children’s Directory talks about her frustrations over getting out the door and dinner time.
Emotional Highs and Lows of Parenting – Verena from Memory Maker Events talks about the emotional highs and lows of parenting.
Peaceful Parenting Challenge Week 1 - Kathryn from Curiosity and the Kat is reminded about checking her “stuff” at the door before dealing with her twins.
The Two Faced Mom in search of peace - Loly from My Journey Home chats about expectations.
Week #1 Suddenly aware of all this anger… - Michelle from My Peaceful Parenting becomes aware of her anger.
Week 1 Triggers and Emotions -Amanda from Family and Baby Sign Language describes her physical response to intense emotions.
Ricky at Daddy Blogger reflects on how peaceful the first year of his daughter’s life was and wonders where all that peace has gone.

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