Causes of and responses to emotional triggers

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Causes of and responses to emotional triggers

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A lot of parents come to being a parent with that same concern because we know things that were hurtful to us as children and we don't want to do that to our own child. When we start saying really quite mean things to our children, it's not coming from a place of who we are right now, really; it's coming from a place of memory that got jogged probably from something that your child reminded you of something that your parent had done, and you really then lose your ability to act in more mindful, reasonable ways. When you do something and you see yourself responding, or when I see myself responding in a way that is much bigger than this particular situation merits, then that can be, for me, an opportunity to say, "Ah. This is an issue for me." If you're a parent who really doesn't have the time or resources to do certain things that might help you, you can always journal. Whenever you're having thoughts after an interaction with your child, write them down, even if you don't read them right away. You can com back to them and it's going to hold those feelings and they can begin transforming just because they get witnessed. Or you can talk to a friend about the things you realize you're doing, if you have a really good friend who can hold that for you as well.

Watch Mary Hartzell, MEd's video on Causes of and responses to emotional triggers...

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Mary Hartzell, MEd

Author & Parent Educator

Mary Hartzell has over 30 years experience working with children, parents and teachers. She is the director of The First Presbyterian Nursery School, a nationally recognized early childhood program in Santa Monica, California. She is co-author of Parenting from the Inside Out and also has created a series of CDs on Parent/Child Relationships. Her parent education classes and her private consulting practice have benefited hundreds of families.

Mary began her career teaching in the public school system and completed her master’s degree in early childhood education and psychology at the University of California in Los Angeles. She taught in the early childhood unit at the UCLA Lab School and supervised student teachers. 

Mary is the mother of three grown children and has four grandchildren. During the years she was raising her own children she taught in the gifted program of the Los Angeles Unified Schools, primarily in South Central L.A. For the past 20 years Mary has been a workshop presenter at national, state and local conferences of the National Association of the Education of Young Children. She has been a lecturer at UCLA extension and is adjunct faculty at Santa Monica Community College in their early childhood department. She also provides workshops, teacher education and consulting with schools throughout the United States.

Mary has served as president of the North Bay Chapter of the Association for the Education of Young Children, Vice President of the Association of the Child Development Specialists. She was the recipient of the first Pediatric Aids Foundation’s “Hero’s Award” for her work with children and parents.

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