Can You Spot Your Child’s Triggers?

If you are a parent and cannot fathom how come your child flies into a tirade of abuse, gets agressive or starts to become violent with you or his siblings, then it is time to take a step back and ask yourself this question. There must be something that is triggering child behavior problems. There must be a pattern. Far too often, parents do not go there because they cannot be bothered or they are too tired.  But actually it is welll worth the effort because with some time and persistence you will soon see results.

We can sum up the action plan into three parts :-

1. Observe
2. Talk about it afterwards
3. Plan an alternative strategy with your child or teen

1.In the first part we have to try and establish what triggered off the outburst or the aggression. This is just a matter of quietly observing and also asking help from relatives, siblings and teachers. Was there a particular incident just before it happened? Could it have been that?  Soon, we should see that a pattern emerges and we can start to understand that there is a problem reaction to something which really gets at the child. This could be a feeling of injustice at some wrong or slight or it could be something to do with school.

2. When we want to talk about it afterwards in a calmer moment, we can approach it and say ‘ I notice when you do not get your way, you start insulting me’.  This can start the whole process of communication about the problem and hopefully let the teen open up and talk about why he did that, how he felt, his reactions, his emotions and feelings, not forgetting his sense of injustice!

3. Then we discuss ways of reacting DIFFERENTLY. Suggest other methods which might be far more effective, less hurtful and less noisy too. Insults, aggression and violence are no nos and you have to give your child other alternatives. Tell him he can try a verbal response and think twice before throwing a book a someone,.

This is planning for the future so that the next time the incident happens, the child is much more aware of the triggers and might see it coming. He is also aware of some alternatives and with any luck he might try them.