Let’s take a look at some scenarios or issues your daughter might experience on a “normal” day:
* Your best friend revealed your secret crush to everyone at school, leaving you mortified. Now you’re rethinking your friendship with her. You feel betrayed and alone.
* The girl who sits beside you in 6th period Algebra has new cuts on her arm and told you she hates her life and wants to die because no one will notice she is gone anyway. You want to help her but she makes you promise not to tell anyone.
* You know for a fact that five of your friends are drinking alcohol and putting themselves into dangerous situations. They tell you about it in detail every day.
* Coach wants you to spend extra time practicing because he wants you in the starting lineup.
* You have loads of homework and need a tutor for English. You barely have enough time to get everything done, let alone sleep.
* And now on top of it all, you are pre-menstrual and moody.
Think about what your response would be if she told you any or all of the above. She might begin with the first subject of stress but never make it to the rest because you have dismissed what she shares as drama.
Have you ever said any of the following to or about your teen?
★ “I don’t have time for your drama!”
★ “You are such a drama queen! It’s not that big of a deal.”
★ “Why are you always in the middle of everyone’s drama at school? Why don’t you just find new friends?”
What is at the heart of the matter? Like the girl in the scenario, she may be drawn to complicated situations at school because she is caring and kind. She may be sacrificing sleep to please coaches, teachers and parents. Another girl could be putting herself in harmful situations because she is dying for someone to acknowledge her. Another might be like the “best friend” and think her uneventful life is not interesting enough.
Unfortunately when we pair “drama” with “teenage girl” the phrase possesses a negative, trivializing connotation. As people who care deeply about our teen girls, it is imperative to radically change the way we approach and describe their daily struggles to fit into social groups, cope with ups and downs and deal with mounding pressures and unpredictable hormones.
Are you willing to remove “drama” from your vocabulary when describing anything involving your teenage girl? She wants to be heard. She wants to be validated. She wants to belong. How do you approach conversations with your teen about her struggles? Do you come to her with love and desire to understand? Is it your intention to see her heart?
As a parent or guardian of a teenage girl, you can not avoid the complicated emotional and social situations she will face. You CAN choose to take every opportunity given to listen with empathy. You CAN make her feel regarded, respected and valued. You CAN build her confidence and sense of acceptance. If there were ever a time to drop the term “drama” from your vocabulary as it relates to teens, the time is now. Today, “no more drama” can take on new meaning for parents everywhere.
Michelle Dolan is a Life Coach for Teen Girls based in the greater Nashville area. Through her coaching practice she uses tools and strategies to help teen girls manage stresses and realize their full potential. Michelle is not only passionate about empowering teen girls to awaken to their own greatness, but also strives to equip parents to better connect with their teenage girl during the tumultuous years of adolescence. Michelle is available for one-on-one coaching sessions and also enjoys leading student peer groups and workshops on an array of issues affecting teen girls and their parents today. She has worked with adolescents for over 15 years in churches, youth camps and schools both nationally and internationally. For more about Michelle or to book a session for your teen, visit www.teengirlcoach.com. You can also find her on facebook and twitter and her blog.