751: How to Stop Feeling Triggered by Your Kids Behavior With Liber8

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How to Stop Feeling Triggered by Your Kids Behavior with Liber8
Wellness Mama » Episode » 751: How to Stop Feeling Triggered by Your Kids Behavior With Liber8
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The Wellness Mama Podcast
751: How to Stop Feeling Triggered by Your Kids Behavior With Liber8

In today’s episode, I’m back with Raj Jana, and we are talking about feeling triggered by our kids. We discuss how the triggers we have often go back to our own inner child and how we can work to repattern and heal those wounds and regulate our nervous systems.

Raj Jana is one of the founders of Liber8, which is a new system for helping you identify and work through your own emotional triggers to rewrite better stories internally and have better outcomes in mental and emotional health.

This conversation is especially important and relevant to any parents listening because we can often feel triggered responses from things our kids do. And when we respond in a triggered way, we can create and reinforce patterns that we may not want to pass on to them. We can also make them feel like certain emotions are bad or they shouldn’t express them.

We go deep on learning how to create space between our trigger and our reaction, the fact that many of our subconscious beliefs are formed before the age of seven, and how this is important to understand in parenting. We also discuss things we can do to create nervous system safety in our homes.

Thanks for joining us today. I hope you learn a lot from Raj.

Episode Highlights With Raj

  • How to start identifying the cause of the triggers when we’re triggered by our kids
  • Ways to help kids not learn that their emotions are bad or create patterns of shutting down emotions
  • Learning to create space between a trigger and a reaction to have more choice in our reactions
  • What the core childhood wounds are, and where they often come from
  • Many subconscious beliefs are formed before age seven, and what to understand about this in parenting
  • Ways to create nervous system safety in your home
  • Studies about adverse childhood experiences and how things like emotional neglect can lead to nervous system dysregulation
  • How to get to know your inner child and understand your core needs and wounds 
  • Common triggers and themes among parents
  • Feelings of rejection as a parent can trigger a deeper core wound

Resources We Mention

  • Liber8 – Use the code wellnessmama

More From Wellness Mama

Read Transcript

Child: Welcome to my Mommy’s podcast.

Hello, and welcome to The Wellness Mama Podcast. I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com. And this episode is about how to stop feeling triggered by your kids and how it actually all starts with your own nervous system regulation and perhaps your own inner child. And I’m back with my friend, Raj Jana, who is one of the founders of Liber8, which is L-I-B-E-R and the number eight, which is a new system for helping you identify and work through your own emotional triggers to rewrite better stories internally and have better outcomes in mental and emotional health.

And of course, I think this conversation is especially important and relevant to any parents listening because we can often feel a triggered response from things that our kids do. And when we give them back a triggered response when they feel big emotions, that can create and reinforce all kinds of patterns that we may or may not wanna pass on to them. And it can also, I know as a kid, I internalized certain emotions were bad or that I couldn’t express them or feel them. And so, we go deep in this conversation on learning how to create space between the trigger and the reaction, how many of our subconscious beliefs are even formed before age seven, and how this is important to understand in parenting. Things like creating nervous system safety in our home. We talk about adverse childhood experiences and nervous system dysregulation. We talk about our own inner child wounds and core wounds and how to repattern those and so much more. Raj is a wealth of information, and he gives a lot of practical ideas in this episode. So let’s join him now. Raj, welcome back. Thanks for being here again.

Raj: Yeah, it’s always great to be here, Katie. Thank you so much for having me again.

Katie: I will link to our first conversation for anybody who has not already listened. We got to go deep on topics like emotional triggers and how they can actually be really helpful tools in a healing journey. And today I’m excited to build on that conversation by talking about this in relation to relationships and especially to our kids. Because I know as a mom myself, kids can be a source of emotional triggers at times. Or the parents, I’d be more accurate to say parents can feel triggered by their kids’ behavior at different times. And I think, of course, those are some of the most important relationships in our life. And for any of us who have done some of the emotional work as adults and had to unpattern things from childhood, it’s in our awareness to hopefully help our kids avoid at least some of those things or to give them a good framework for nervous system health and for emotional regulation from a young age. So kind of, I guess, to jump in there for parents who do feel triggered by their kids’ behavior, how can we sort of not waste those triggers, use them to our advantage and realize that we only have control over actually our half of that equation and start doing the work in ourselves to help resolve the emotions in us that are being triggered?

Raj: Yeah, I have this kind of frame. I said like this in general when it comes to this work, you know, we bring in people, experiences, you know, relationships into our lives to help us learn more about ourselves. I really do feel like that’s kind of the road, right? Like, so whether it’s an intimate partner in a relationship, like you’re always learning just from their presence in your life and kids are no different. And so, when we look at the world through that frame, okay, like I’m experiencing this trigger right now. Like, what is this little human being in this very specific form evoking in me right now? And what is, what is this person trying to teach me right now about myself? And that’s ultimately like the biggest frame that we, we come back to because when we, when we start to look at and treat our triggers as treasures, that’s ultimately like the, the goal is to get to a place of, okay, like every single trigger being an opportunity to learn something about yourself. It shifts the nature of the trigger altogether. Because now you’re not really like abdicating that, to be like, oh, this person triggered me. And now there’s like this one-way street of almost anger sometimes. Anger at kids or like frustration or all this stuff. But if, and when I’m not saying this is easy either.

So this is not to say that like, to be perfect and to be all stoic and enlightened in some ways, just to be happy all the time. But it is a different frame to look at, okay, when I’m in this relationship, when I’m in this trigger, instead of reacting, can I pause and understand that this person is only triggering this inside of me because it already exists within me. Right? Like, it’s almost like you can’t really fire off a, you know, like a firearm without it being loaded already kind of thing. And so, when you think of it from that standpoint, it’s like, okay, like I’m being triggered right now. Where is this coming from? This has nothing to do with the other person right now. And that’s like the beginning point to really not waste those triggers. Because I think that’s the biggest piece that I really want to inspire right now is these triggers are opportunities to grow and learn. And more importantly, these triggers are opportunities for you to show kids how to navigate triggers and what to do when they’re triggered and what’s happening when they’re triggered. Because in our communities, from all the parents that we worked with, we see this over and over again. Children don’t really do what you tell them to do. They model you in the most profound ways. So the way that you respond to triggers is one of the most empowering ways to teach them how to navigate triggers in their lives. So I think that’s the bigger frame of how these triggers can turn into opportunities, whether it’s teaching opportunities for parents or even just opportunities to model what it’s like to have a regulated and resilient nervous system is to do that work yourself.

Katie: Yeah, I agree with you that modeling is huge. And I read something fascinating recently about how kids under seven, especially, they don’t have a fully developed and regulated nervous system. They actually depend incredibly heavily on the parents for even their physical experience of their nervous system. And that’s why babies naturally tend to be calmer and happier when they’re sort of like in constant contact with a parent, but they’re very physically learning nervous system regulation from us. And that process continues throughout childhood. It like sort of graduates, and they get more and more understanding of their own nervous system, but they’re still learning from us both physically. And then of course, by what we’re modeling in our interactions.

And I know as a parent, it’s of course, very difficult not to react from an emotional space and not to be triggered. But I think you’re right that our example in those moments is perhaps the most powerful thing we can give them. And with the idea, especially of how do we help them avoid getting the message that their emotions are bad or shutting down their emotions? Because I know that was part of my process. And unraveling was like, oh, it’s actually okay to feel my emotions. I don’t even need to label them as bad. And how we talked in our first episode, those are just parts of me that are valid parts. And sometimes for kids, it may be a very valid thing to feel anger and feeling anger in and of itself is not bad. Still have to make good choices about what we do with our anger. Like I tell my kids, that doesn’t mean you get to hit your sibling. But it’s perfectly valid to feel anger. And so, helping them avoid learning through our reactions that their emotions themselves are the problem or their emotions themselves are bad. Or even, I feel like sometimes things parents we can say in passing can sort of really be internalized by our kids, like when we tell them not to cry. Are they actually learning that that emotion is not okay rather than learning tools for processing that emotion? So do you have any advice for how to handle those interactions in a way that doesn’t create a situation where they’re internalizing that the emotions are the problem or that they are the problem for having the emotions.

Raj: Oh, that’s such a sweet question. Thank you so much for asking that. One, the way that you speak to your kids is going to be reflective of the way that you speak to your own inner child. So, to me, when your own inner child comes up, which is that afraid part, that scary part, that angry part, that sad part, building a healthy relationship with that dynamic is going to be like foundational to then being able to inspire your kids to have a healthy dynamic with their inner child and their inner part. I guess they are the child, right? It’s like their child is their inner child in a lot of ways, their present moment experience. And, and that’s the longer game. The longer game is really getting to that space.

The secondary game is recognizing that when you are in a trigger, you really don’t have to, it’s like learning the skill set of being able to stay in that trigger and not actually react yet. And that’s the skill. This is where awareness is so massive. This is why in our Liber8 process, like we have our app and we’re literally telling people, hey, log your triggers every time it happens. Because the more you get into this process of paying attention when you’re triggered, the more you can stop it in the moments they’re happening. And learning to stop that trigger and just be with it is the first step. Because if you’re in a charge, if you’re in any type of like experience, it’s going to be really hard to be kind to your child. It’s going to be really hard to communicate that loving reminder that you just mentioned that your emotions are not bad. It’s going to be really difficult. Right.

So learning to regulate your own nervous system, learning to build a healthy relationship with the hurt, scared inner child within yourself is like the first foundational step to then be able to even recognize those moments and those opportunities to then inspire and create a safe space for your kids to have a healthy relationship with their emotions. And so, I think that’s where I’m coming back to the longer game. Like this is where this type of work I believe in it so much for parents because I really feel like we can stop so much of the world’s suffering by just learning to hold space for our own inner children, and by proxy of that, learn to hold space for our actual children. Because again, they’re going to model what you feel and they’re going to feel regulated when you’re regulated. And they’re going to feel that permission to feel when they see you feel regulated.

And, and I know it’s, you know, I know my dad, you know, grew up in a household where he didn’t want to see, he didn’t want me to see him cry because he thought that that would make him weak. And, and I remembered for the longest time, I had a real disconnect with, with that feeling in myself. I didn’t want anybody to see me cry because I didn’t want to be seen as weak. My dad never told me that, but it’s what I modeled with him. And it took me a lot of work to reparent that. And that’s where it’s like the word reparenting, like reparenting the parts of ourselves that didn’t necessarily get the nurture. Not because our parents were bad. They did the best that they could. And sometimes they did so good, but children are going to be children, and they’re going to internalize things that they don’t even realize they’re internalizing. And so, I think coming back to that healthy practice of reparenting yourself so that we can parent in the most conscious and loving ways is the way that I would recommend.

Katie: And in that sense, I think a reframe is that our kids really truly can become our best teachers because as children, they have a unique way of being able to trigger our own inner child or parts that we may have been able to lock down for a long time and ignore. They become a perfect, amazing physical reminder of that and a great mirror of those things. And so, while that’s not always necessarily the easiest and most comfortable process, I try to remind myself too, that I’ve been given these six amazing teachers who each have their very own unique ways of mirroring those parts of me that I can work on. And they are probably the strongest reason in the world to want to do that work. For their sake as well. And of course, for my own sake in relationship with them.

But I think the inner child piece is so important. This was definitely something I spent a lot of time in my journey of healing with. And it seems like often we emerge from childhood with, like you said, even with the best of parents and the best of intentions, we can internalize things as children and really make those part of our stories or our identities around ourself that we then get to unpattern or let go of or reparent as an adult. And there were many times in my journey where once I had awareness of that, I spent time, whether it be in hypnosis or in therapy thanking those parts of myself because they really were there to keep me safe at different times. But then also letting them go and then reparenting, rechanging that story that I had internalized in childhood.

So as an example for me in our first episode, we talked about the experience of not feeling heard often being a reason that we might, react disproportionately in an argument about the dishes for instance. I had a very clear childhood early childhood memory of being in my crib and crying and realizing that nobody was coming because both of my parents are hard of hearing, and so like I had sort of cognated in that moment like, oh, no one hears me, no one’s coming to get me, and I had I think that was for me a lot at the start of my fierce independence and like I have to do it all myself, like, no one, not accepting help, and there were so many parts of that so that just as a small example it can be even with the best of parents a small thing that we emotionally internalize young, but do you see this in working with people are there maybe some commonalities around core wounds whether it be not being lovable, not being worthy, not being heard in my case, like, do these things tend to come up commonly, like are there some categories that exist when it comes to the inner child wounds?

Raj: Yeah, there’s certainly trends that we’ve seen. I’ll name a few. The I’m not seen. Not feeling seen is one of the most common ones that we see over and over again. Not feeling recognized, not feeling seen, not feeling appreciated. Not feeling worthy. Not feeling capable. Not being able to trust others. Not being able to trust my body. I mean, these are all categories of core wounds that we see in our communities. And we’re all human. And there are different flavors, right? It might not be I don’t feel seen. It might be like I don’t matter, or I feel invisible. These are some natures, and when I think of inner child work and these core wounds, when you say that out loud, like, sometimes it feels kind of simple. It’s like, I don’t matter. Like, that is such a simple statement.

Well, coming back to your point around, you know, the nervous system and the prefrontal cortex and the development of the brain for children. If you think about it from zero to seven, that’s where a lot of these subconscious beliefs are being formed. And they’re being formed from the lens of that zero- to seven-year-old child. So even though you had, you know, like your parents didn’t come to, because they didn’t hear you, right? Like you internalize that as no one’s going to hear me or I don’t feel heard. And so there’s this like, there’s a simplicity to the beliefs. There’s a simplicity to these core wounds that I think is really important to bring awareness to because a lot of people think that these beliefs are like my adult beliefs that I’m getting triggered. It’s like this adult part of me that’s getting triggered, but it’s not. It’s actually this little five-year-old, this seven-year-old, sometimes 11-year-old, this child part of you that’s almost like stored as a memory in your body. That’s what’s actually reacting right now. That’s what’s coming out. And so when it comes out, by shifting the frame and looking at this trigger, it’s like, okay, this part of me that’s actually responding right now, this is that hurt child inside of me. How can I nurture it? How can I care for it? How can I love it? How can I hold a space for, for him or her to feel seen and feel heard and feel like, how can I reparent that part? And that is the work.

And that to me is the, you know, my personal one was not feeling seen. I think that was the biggest one. And it’s not that my parents didn’t try to, it’s just, they had limited, they came from India. English was not their first language. And I grew up in the States, and I had very different needs than a child that was growing up in India. And so, they had a very different way of telling me I was doing a great job, which was not telling me I was doing a great job, which was always telling me to do more. Oh, you got a 91. Why didn’t you get a 95? That was always the languaging, right? So it was always an I’m not enough. I’m never seen for how good I’m doing. That wasn’t their fault. It wasn’t their thing. And I’m very grateful for them too because that led to me being an excellent student. Very successful. And it led to a lot of qualities I’m grateful for. And as I became aware of these parts, it became an opportunity for me to have a more loving frame for me. And it led to more peace for myself. And so, this journey is that journey of kind of unraveling. And I do feel like kids, and I know from my parents, I have been their biggest trigger. And I can guarantee that across the board. Like, you know, all of our parents have been triggered by us. And so, it’s the same cycle. We’re triggering the things in them that are stored, and our kids are doing the same thing for us.

Katie: Yeah. And it’s a good reminder with humility to understand that despite our best efforts, our children probably will also still internalize things that they will get to let go of as adults. But hopefully with each generation, we can get a little bit better and a little bit more conscious and build a little bit better habits around this. And like you, I had parents who are very academically focused and internalize like achievement and doing well in school is how I get love or whatever the case may be. And so, I got to let go of those things as well. And I think as adults, it’s helpful to understand there’s not really a benefit in blame and our parents did do the best they could. And we still have full responsibility and ability to change those patterns now as adults. And so, I think the quicker we can move away from the blame and into the responsibility and the movement toward change, it’s a really helpful part of the journey. And like you said, those things can even also store in our body. There’s whole books written about this, The Body Keeps the Score and others, but that like, if we don’t resolve these things, our body will also eventually tell us and give us clues that they’re there and that we can look at them. For kids, especially, or I’m thinking in like a home environment, do you have any suggestions for sort of like nervous system friendly habits or things we can do in our environment to give those physical cues of safety with our kids or to ourselves, or whether it be in our communication and ways that we can interact with them to help signal safety?

Raj: One of my favorite, actually, I can’t take credit for this. I saw a friend of mine do this in one of my healing communities, which I loved. Every evening before she goes to bed, she sits with her four-year-old daughter and her seven-year-old son. And they do this practice of saying, I love my mind. I love my body, I love my heart, and I love my soul. Before they go to bed, every night, and they would literally have a moment of just saying, I love all the parts of me. And it can be as simple as that, as just signaling cues like that, whether it’s at bedtime before they go to bed or before they go to school, whatever it is, like just creating an environment where they’re getting the consistent reminder that it’s okay to be themselves.

You know, coming back to the last episode we did, you know, safety is the foundation of nervous system health. And when children feel safe to be themselves, they’re developing resilient and healthy nervous systems. When they feel unsafe, that’s when the nervous system becomes dysregulated. In safety, there is regulation. And so ultimately, everything comes back to creating safety and not just physical safety, but emotional safety. You know, the CDC actually did a study that linked, you know, like they did a study back in the early 2000s and they revisited in 2019 that listed out, you know, the 10 different types of adverse childhood experiences, which is what they kind of named as, you know, whether it’s childhood traumas or anything. I used to think that those adverse childhood experiences were like the big T traumas, you know, like the physical abuses and the sexual abuses. I was beyond shocked to discover that emotional neglect was actually one of the 10 adverse childhood experiences that led to nervous system dysregulation. And so, when we think about that, it’s like safety is not just physical, safety is emotional. In fact, I would argue emotional safety to be like, that’s the slippery one because it’s so nuanced. You don’t know how, but it’s just creating those consistent check-ins and reminders with your kids for them to signal, I am safe. I am calm. I love myself. I love all the parts of me. Creating rituals like that are, to me, one of the best ways to just build on that neuroplasticity that kids have. Kids are like sponges at that age. And so, creating environments like that, I think, are the most healthy way to just build a resilient nervous system.

Katie: Well, and like we talked about parents often, I feel like moms especially set the nervous system tone for the house in a physical way with babies. But I think I know that I’ve seen that play out time and time again. If I’m able to stay calm and regulated, even when my kids experience big emotions, they can get back to calm and regulated much more quickly. Whereas if I’m stressed or overwhelmed, that energy sort of like ripples throughout the entire house. And so, I do think it’s one of the best gifts we can give our kids to do that work on ourselves and to like we talked about in our first episode, be aware of your triggers, do the work on your triggers. Learn to develop better habits and patterns and questions and inner responses when you experience those because that has a very profound ripple effect into the entire household. And so, I’d also love to, again, briefly talk about Liber8, because I think this is like we talked about in the first episode, a quantifiable tool that helps you actually have a measure of how that’s going. And it also seems to highlight ones you may not be aware of because our subconscious does a great job of trying to keep those things out of sight often. And so, I think this could be a really helpful tool and one of the best gifts we can give our kids when we do that work on ourselves.

Raj: Yeah, and what’s cool about our emotional lab reports is, you know, we take you through a process of really getting to know your inner child in a big way. And really getting to understand the needs that your inner child has or didn’t have or wasn’t able to get met. And so, we sort of opened this opportunity for you to build a really healthy relationship with your own inner child and tools that you can use to continue building and strengthening that relationship. And that then has a trickle-down impact on the way that you work with your kids or the way that you hold space for your kids. And so that’s a lot of what our emotional lab reports are really doing. The process of coming up with your plan, your recommendations all include a really beautiful and curious exploration of your inner child and where your inner child feels stuck or the needs that your inner child might have. And then really giving you the tools, again, to be your own amazing parent. Because that’s ultimately what all this work is about. It’s just learning to reparent the parts of us that didn’t get what we needed growing up.

Katie: Are there any common patterns or themes that you notice in trigger tracking, especially for parents? Like I could guess at some, but I’m curious what you guys noticed.

Raj: I mean, there’s a lot. I think a common frustration is a feeling that they’re not good parents. Like there’s a consistent theme of not feeling enough as a parent. That shows up a lot. And there’s this feeling of rejection. I think that’s the source of the frustration and the anger. It’s actually like when you go underneath it, it’s that the children not responding to their parenting style or whatever is actually signaling this deeper core wound of, oh, wow, I’m just not a good parent. And that is why I think one of the biggest ones that shows up is just this not enough wound. And then other triggers show up of, you know, feeling stressed and just stretched for time. I don’t have enough time. I don’t have enough time. I don’t have enough support. I think that’s a big one too, is moms take on a lot and they are stretched. And so, like if there’s relationship challenges, they get heightened inside of the triggers. So when we do our root cause analysis, like that usually comes up as well. And so there really is like, it’s kind of all over the place, but I think the biggest one, Katie, is really that I don’t feel like a good parent. Like that, that big, that one right there is the one that comes up the most.

Katie: Yeah, I would guess that resonates a lot with a lot of parents. I know I’ve certainly felt that feeling and feeling like I’m never doing enough, which also triggers that I’m not good enough and all that’s wrapped up in that. And I think this is such an important conversation. I hope we get to have future ones as well to build on these. But I’m really grateful for these tools you are creating because, like I said, I think we have such great data in so many aspects of health these days, and it’s available to us as consumers to become our own primary healthcare providers. And I feel like what you’re doing with Liber8 is to help put those same tools in our hands when it comes to nervous system health and emotional regulation and mental health. And I think this is a much-needed part of the conversation. So I will, of course, include links. But where can people find you? Where can they start tracking their emotional triggers? Where do they jump in?

Raj: Yeah, so our website is Liber8.health. That’s L-I-B-E-R-8.health. Yeah, you can head to liber8.health/wellnessmama, and you’ll get an access to the emotional lab report. And we’ll also include a code for you guys. Just use wellnessmama at checkout, and you can get 10% off. Yeah, but that’s it. Just go to liber8.health/wellnessmama or Liber8 if you just want to check out the website. All of it’s great.

Katie: Well, thank you so much. It’s always such a joy to get to have a conversation with you. And I think we talked about some really important topics in the two episodes we’ve done together. Thank you so much for being here and for sharing.

Raj: Thank you so much for having me, Katie. It’s always a pleasure.

Katie: And thanks as always to all of you for listening and sharing your most valuable resources, your time, your energy, and your attention with us. We’re both so grateful that you did. And I hope that you will join me again on next episode of The Wellness Mama Podcast.

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.

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About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


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