No one knows how to push your buttons more than the ones who love you the most.
And you know how to hurt them with just the right words as well. I call these trigger conversations.
Trigger conversations are born from vulnerability. When I know your weaknesses, when I have a front row seat to the worst parts of you, and when you reveal to me your fears, I now have power in your life. This is why so many of us run from intimacy and vulnerability like we are running from a raging bull.
No one has their finger on your trigger more than the family you live with. You can’t hide in your own home, and I promise your teenager sees more of your worst than you care to admit.
Trigger conversations begin when we bring up subjects, topics, phrases, words, and cyclical conversations that are repetitive in our relationships. We know what that the outcome of these conversations is a huge fight, but we continue to have them anyway.
Unfortunately, on the adolescent journey your relationship can digress into a verbal gun fight at the OK Corral in a hot second. There is one trigger conversation after another until no one talks anymore, you just yell.
What is the cure to moving past trigger conversations in parenting teenagers? Here are three keys to stop yelling and start connecting in you relationship with your teenager:
1. IT STARTS WITH YOU- Like it or not, you are the leader in this relationship. Yes, your teenager has to be responsible for themselves and they are at fault to some level. But being the parent means you can rise above hurt feelings and raise the level of conversation to civility and hopefully intimacy. Are you in a relational stand-off with your teenager? As a leader you should be the first to blink.
2. TREASURE THEIR WEAKNESS- When your teenager initiates a trigger conversation with you, the temptation is to find one of their buttons and push back. This only leads to a crazy cycle of conflict. The way to stop it is to do something different. When they initiate battle you can put down your weapons and refuse to fight back. If trigger conversations begin because of vulnerability, then they can also be ended by treasuring the vulnerability of your teenager. Respect the fact that you do know how to hurt them, and choose not to pull that trigger. It sets an example for your teenager that they might just follow.
3. FIND A SOUNDING BOARD- You are only human. If your teenager pushes your buttons it will unleash all kinds of emotion in you. Trigger Conversations breed hurt, anger, sadness, shame, loneliness, and all of their cousins. If you refuse to spew it back to your teenager than where will you put it? For your own health you must find a friend, meet with a counselor, or at the very least write out your emotions in a journal. You must have your say, but it doesn’t have to be by yelling back at your teenager. There are other places.
The last thing I want to say is that one of my reasons for starting Parentzilla is to create a healthy outlet for you to release your feelings. Leave anonymous comments on our blog posts, share your heart on our facebook page, or send us an email. The reality is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE on this parenting journey.
SO today let’s give peace a chance.
WHAT ARE YOUR TRIGGER CONVERSATIONS AND HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THEM?