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Why Does my Child Press my Buttons?

Do some situations with your child leave you wondering, “Woah what happened there?” because you find yourself going from 0-100 so quickly?


Reacting emotionally and automatically, perhaps doing the opposite to what you had planned… Yet, other tricky things they do don’t seem to bother you in the same way?


There are many ways to think about and understand what’s happening in these moments (thanks psychology!), but “attachment buttons” and “identity buttons” is a simple way to bring some awareness to what’s going on.


Attachment buttons leave us affected most by situations that threaten our sense of safety in a relationship… triggering an (unconscious) underlying worst fear of being rejected or unlovable.
Identity buttons leave us affected most by situations that threaten our sense of self, or our sense of control… triggering an (unconscious) underlying worst fear of being useless or a failure.



Most of us will have a mixture of the two, but usually one will resonate more than the other. Our buttons are based on pathways in our brains that have been built over many years, & can be related to personality as well as experiences.


When these buttons get pressed, our brain senses a threat, and so reacts in an automatic way to protect us. Our survival mode gets triggered, which unfortunately means we can inadvertently behave in ways that don’t really help!



The more awareness we have of our “buttons” and what triggers them, the more chance we have of noticing when a tricky situation is arising, when we start to get triggered, and stepping away to take a pause to bring our thinking brain (prefrontal cortex) back online.

What do you think of Attachment & Identity buttons? Does they make sense to you?

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