Kids can be really dramatic sometimes, can’t they? The following exerpt from Volleyball Mom’s Survival Guide, by Janis B. Meredith of JBM Thinks Sportsparenting, speaks specifically to moms of volleyball players, but the truths are for every parent who has a drama king or queen living in the house.
Her highs are the highest and her lows are the lowest. She overreacts, over-exaggerates, oversimplifies, and just about over-everything. Life with her can be like a roller coaster ride: very fun at the top and scary on the way to the bottom. How do you hang on when the ride gets rocky? The first thing to remember is to leave the overreacting to her.
- When she explodes at you about whatever it was that set her off, don’t explode back.
- When she wants to cry and go on about how badly her friends treat her, don’t join her rants.
Drama queens overreact. That’s just how they do life. That will only change as she matures. But you can help temper her overreactions by staying calm when she is not.
The second thing to remember is to listen to her rants. I know this takes a lot of self-control and patience, but it’s important because buried in with the ridiculous assumptions, emotional reactions, and skewed reasoning, drama queens are trying to tell you something. She just doesn’t know any other way to say it. You must listen, watch, and listen some more to really hear what she is saying.
I don’t advocate hateful speech aimed at the parent, so there may come a time to cut the rant off until she can speak without being rude to you. But if she is just ranting about friends or teammates or homework or teachers or coaches, allow her to let the air out. It will help calm her down.
The third thing to keep in mind is that it is your job as her mom to sort.
- Learn to sort out overreactions that are merely your daughter over-expressing harmless opinions, from overreactions that must be addressed because the issues go deeper. I can’t tell you how to do that; you must know and understand your daughter in order to distinguish between the two.
- Then, you can help your daughter sort out her thoughts and feelings. Once she’s had her say, the time needed for sorting may vary. She may be ready to start sorting right after she is done overreacting. Or she may need to go calm down and talk with you later.
As you help her sort, you may want to ask open questions to help her think through her problems. Or you may want to share your own experiences and what you learned from them. Your goal is to help your daughter sift through the emotions and distinguish what is real from what she perceives.
As the sorting progresses, the conversation should take a subtle turn from “what am I upset about?” to “what can I do about it?” At this point, beware of the shifting into lecture mode. Lecturing is for professors, not for parents. When you lecture, kids tune you out just like they tune out boring teachers. But if you converse—chat, chew the fat, confer, gab, exchange—your daughter will be in the conversation instead of in her own world. In conversing, you exchange thoughts, ideas, questions. You listen to one another, and respond. Conversing with your drama queen will help her get a grasp on problem-solving that is based on rational reasoning, instead of overreactions.