My child pushes my buttons
Things you can try
Start to recognise your buttons
Have you had times when you feel that your child is deliberately doing or saying something to make you react? It’s as if they know just how to stir up strong feelings in you!
If you can see the things that are likely to trigger you, you will be less likely to be caught out.
Top tip: Don’t take it personally (easier said than done!).
Practise taking a step back before you react
All of us get angry at our children. The challenge is to control how to express that anger so that we minimise its negative impact. It’s important to remember that parents' anger is very frightening for children. Whether they seem scared of it or not.
If your buttons have been pressed and you have shouted, then it’s good to apologise to your child (that’s easier said than done too!). Try explaining that shouting is not a good way to sort out an argument.
Here are some ways to react differently next time.
- Understand that an angry reaction to your child will mean you lose authority.
- Taking deep breaths may help give you a bit of time to stay calm and think.
- If your child is safe, it is ok to briefly walk away and take time to calm down. Tell them that you will be back in a minute. Then get back to them as soon as you are able.
Look after yourself
When we are tired or low in energy, we are more likely to react to triggers. That’s when we get ‘hooked’ into unhelpful behaviour patterns. Be kind to yourself.
And remember that our children often trigger the deepest emotions. But they can also be our most important teachers. Our ‘triggers’ or ‘buttons’ are often parts of ourselves that need healing.
Seek support and help
It’s completely normal for parents to feel ‘pushed over the edge’ sometimes, but when we become overwhelmed by our emotions it be very upsetting and difficult for us to handle.
Tell someone you trust about your frustrations about parenting. Everyone needs support in parenting.
You can also consider professional help. Do you feel childhood issues are affecting your capacity to be the parent that you want to be? A professional can help you understand and work though them.
Your child is unique and we hope there are some takeaways here that work for you. If you’re looking for help parenting children with additional needs, you can get specific advice from specialist organisations. Check out our list of support that we can recommend.
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