How to Avoid Triggering and Being Triggered by Our Kids

Are your children’s behaviors triggering your response? Do your child’s reactions seem bigger than they should be to everyday events? Are your reactions sometimes a bit too big? What causes us to get triggered by our kids or to trigger behaviors in them? In this episode, we talk with Dr. Tripp Ake, a licensed psychologist with over 20 years of experience in the field of child trauma treatment. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University Medical Center and the program director for the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.


In this episode, we cover:

  • What do we mean by “triggering” and how does it differ from getting our buttons pushed?
  • What’s the difference between being triggered and being annoyed or irritated?
  • How to become a trauma detective?
  • What types of things can trigger a child?
  • How much of having our “buttons pushed” stems from the belief that our child’s behavior is a reflection on us as parents?
  • How do the belief systems that we grow up with impact us as adults? We may not even be aware that hold these values and may not even agree with them.
  • How can we identify the things in our past that make us likely to be triggered?
  • Examples of things parents have told us drives them to distraction (aka triggering).
    • Whining
    • Disrespect
  • Two universal parenting tips for improving a child’s behavior.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network is an excellent resource for further information.

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Music Credit: Michael Ashworth

Image Credit: Keira Burton