Do you have a drama queen–or king– in your house?
Kids whose highs are the highest and whose lows are the lowest. Kids who over-react, over-exagerate, over-simplify, and just about over-everything.
Life with them can be like a roller coaster ride: very fun at the top and scary on the way to the bottom.
I’ve got a few ideas to help you hang on when the ride begins to get rocky.
Leave the Over-Reacting to them
- When he explodes at you about whatever it was that set him 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, and kings, over-react. That’s just how they do life. That will only change as they mature. But you can help temper their over-reactions by staying calm when they are not.
Listen to their rants
Buried in with the ridiculous assumptions, emotional reactions, and skewed reasoning, drama queens and kings are trying to tell you something. They just don’t know any other way to say it. You must listen, watch, and listen some more to really hear what they are saying. I don’t advocate hateful speech aimed at the parent; so there may come a time to cut the rant off until they can speak without being rude to you.
Sort it out
There’s two types of sorting to do here:
- First, you have to sort out over-reactions that are merely your child over-expressing harmless opinions, from over-reactions that must be addressed because the issues go deeper. I can’t tell you how to do that; you must know and understand your child in order to distinguish between the two.
- Second, you can help your child sort out their thoughts and feelings. Once they’ve had their say, the time for sorting may vary. They may be ready to start sorting right after they are done over-reacting. Or they may need to go calm down and talk with you later.
Your style of sorting may be to ask open questions to help them think through their problems. It may be to share your own experiences and what you learned from them.
Whatever your style of sorting, the goal is to help your child sift through the emotions and distinguish what is real from what she perceives.
Converse, don’t lecture
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, it’s easy for parents to shift 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 (synonyms for converse)–your child will be in the conversation instead of in their own world. In conversing, you exchange thoughts, ideas, questions. You listen to each other, and respond.
Conversing with your drama queen or king will help them get a grasp on problem-solving that is based on rational reasoning, instead of over-reactions.
And don’t forget the fun
Drama queens and kings can be a lot of fun too. Take time to appreciate their zest for life, their entertaining expressiveness, and their soap opera mentality. It will give you some great laughs, and memories.
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