My 12 year old son has a new favorite word…yep you guessed it, “Whatever!”
Let me state it correctly—“Whaaateeevveerrrr!”
He has been saying it for about 2 months now and I must admit, at first, I was really triggered by this.
Triggered is when you negatively react to an event/activity because you are making it mean something that upsets you.
I noticed myself feeling triggered when Malcolm would say “whatever”. Really triggered! And the triggering would throw me out of alignment with my values, causing me to parent in ways that are not pretty.
So I asked myself, “what am I making this mean?” After some thought and reflection, I realized I was making it mean, my son doesn’t respect me.
And that didn’t feel good at all.
Ironically my thoughts about Malcolm disrespecting me would lead me to be disrespectful to him. Oh the irony!
I also asked myself, “Is he really disrespecting me?” Really?
I can’t be sure, but I did realize he almost always says it when he knows what I am saying/suggesting is true.
The beautiful thing about a trigger is that once you understand it, you have the power to change it instantly
So I decided each time my boy says “whaaaateeevveerrrr” to me I would make it mean…”Mom, you are right. I don’t want you to be right, but you are and I love you”.
Let me tell you, that feels so much better than holding on to the belief that my boy doesn’t respect me.
He was on spring break a couple weeks ago and we had the most amazing week together. Each time he said, “whatever”, I would just smile at him with this goofy smile on my face and say in my head “Mom, you are right. I don’t want you to be but you are right and I love you.
Yesterday he said “Mom, you get this weird look on your face sometimes” and I said I know, I know!
Triggers hold a lot of power over us if we let them.
Triggers push us into negative emotions and we are far more likely to react as a parent, rather than staying peaceful and proactive.
Working through triggers looks like this –> Identify the thought pattern, disrupt it, change it, and practice the new thought process.
That, Mamas, feels like freedom…even when things aren’t going well, even when there are big emotions coming from your child, even when there are meltdowns and outbursts.
The process of working on triggers is one of the cornerstones of PeacefulParenting. It’s also where I find some of the greatest joy in coaching parents.
Take a second and think about the last time you got upset with your child.
What set you off?
What was the “trigger”?
Was your child truly trying to upset you, or did you apply a meaning to it in the moment that may not have been 100% accurate?
Unravelling the stories that make up our emotional responses to the little things that happen to us opens a chasm of space to be calm and peaceful in our responses with our kids.
And when we respond to them in a way we’d like them to respond to us…guess what happens!! Magic…respect…cooperation.
Want to see how big of a difference just this one tool could have in your relationships (spouses included!)? Schedule a complimentary session with me here.