129: The physical reasons you yell at your kids

Why do we yell at our children – even when we know we shouldn’t?

Why isn’t just knowing what to do enough to actually interact with our children in a way that aligns with our values?

For many of us, the reason we struggle to actually implement the ideas we know we want to use is because we’ve experienced trauma in our lives. This may be the overt kind that we can objectively say was traumatic (divorce, abuse, death among close family members…), or it may simply be the additive effect of having our needs disregarded over and over again by the people who were supposed to protect us.

These experiences cause us to feel ‘triggered’ by our children’s behavior – because their mess and lack of manners and resistance remind us subconsciously of the ways that we were punished as children for doing very similar things. These feelings don’t just show up in our brains, they also have deep connections to our bodies (in spite of the Western idea that the body and brain are essentially separate!).

If we don’t decide to take a different path and learn new tools to enable us to respond effectively to our child rather than reacting in the heat of the moment, and because our physical experience is so central to how this trauma shows up in our daily lives, we also need to understand and process this trauma through our bodies.

If you need help understanding the source of your triggered feelings and learning new ways to navigate them so you can feel triggered less often, my popular and highly effective Taming Your Triggers workshop will be open soon. Sliding scale pricing will be available, and the community will meet on a platform that isn’t Facebook! Join the waitlist to be notified when doors reopen.



Jump to highlights:

  • (01:00) This episode’s rationale
  • (03:12) The two ways trauma shows up in broader family relationships
  • (05:27) The separateness of the brain and the body has a long history in Western culture
  • (06:05) Rene Descartes on the schism of mind and body
  • (07:12) The held belief of the mind as superior to the rest of the body
  • (08:09) The inherent bias of data
  • (09:42) The lies our brain tells us
  • (12:54) The so-called 4 ‘truths’ of the physical experience of trauma
  • (16:22) When we are not attuned to the signals that our body is giving us
  • (19:01) Difficulty in identifying feelings for people who experienced trauma
  • (22:16) Saying OK when you aren’t really OK
  • (26:19) The difference between reacting and responding
  • (27:10) Using physical experience to bring order to the chaos in our minds
  • (31:15) The first step to creating a safe environment for your child
  • (33:26) The root of our inability to create meaningful relationships
  • (34:18) Equipping ourselves with the tools to regulate our arousal


Other episodes mentioned:




Facebook group:


About the author, Jen

Jen Lumanlan (M.S., M.Ed.) hosts the Your Parenting Mojo podcast (www.YourParentingMojo.com), which examines scientific research related to child development through the lens of respectful parenting.


  1. Chris on February 8, 2021 at 5:02 PM

    As someone who works in human services healthcare, I hear a *lot* of similarities between Dr. van der Kolk’s “2nd truth” and his study of the effect of trauma on cognition and language and the de-escalation training I’ve had working with folks in an agitated/escalated state. The essence of that training is that, when in a traumatized state (either experiencing acute trauma or something more long-standing like a DV situation), the higher cognitive functions shut down making it *really* hard to make good, reasoned decisions.

  2. Sherry on March 28, 2021 at 3:59 PM

    Absolutely brilliant. Exactly what I needed today. I love your work.

Leave a Comment