June 22, 2013
Thanks again to my friend Liz for her suggestion for these posts:
“How to handle a 16 year old drama queen! My parents never figured that out with me. Now I know all too painfully why.”
Wow…I feel you girl! This is truly a moment for Courageous Parenting!
(Here’s a brief recap from last week’s post “Save the Drama for Your Mama”– Part 1)
We bring these beautiful beings into the world, love them with all our hearts, and then there are moments where we wonder what has incarnated before our very eyes. My parenting perspective is that a large part of our job is to see, appreciate, and make room for our children to be exactly who they are. That being said, it is also our job to teach them how to live with consideration for others.
We teach them this delicate balance with our responses to them. Ideally, we hold respect for them and model respect for ourselves at the same time. Most important is that all this be done while conveying our love for them. Our response sets the stage for how they experience themselves and help to shape their actions and reactions.
Last week, I shared practical approaches for handling intense emotional situations with our children. The ideas were to:
1. check our response to make sure we do not match their intensity;
2. discuss strategies and behavior management during calm moments well after the drama has subsided.
There is another perspective we can take when our children exhibit patterns of behavior that drive us crazy. This perspective supports you to embrace your role as a parent as a catalyst for your personal and spiritual growth. It is the perspective of seeing them as a mirror of your self.
My friend Liz shared that she too had been a drama queen when she was young. If we recognize that behavior in our present or past, that recognition alone is huge clue that we may have something personal to gain from living with our own drama queen or king. Here’s how it works:
1. Do an overview of your current life and behavior. Are you inadvertently modeling this in your own way?
2. Make a list of all their behaviors that annoy, frustrate, or anger you around this pattern. Then read the list to your self replacing their name with yours. Recognize anything? Feel anything? If not, this may not be a mirror for you. However, keep the list so you can refer to it again at another time to double-check your reaction and insight.
With these suggestions, you are looking for ways they may be modeling things for you that you don’t like about yourself. Even when your behavior is not exactly the same as theirs, there could be similarities that you will discover.
Another possibility for spiritual growth is that this situation could be offering you an opportunity for healing. Maybe your child is behaving in a way you did when you were younger. Maybe you secretly (or not so secretly) detested your self for who you were at that time and simply had no tools for how to change. Living with this behavior in front of you is an opportunity to feel compassion for them and for your self when that was you. Finding peace with who you were at that time can magically help you to feel more peace in the present with your own child. Compassion rather than criticism is a beautifully healing balm.
This type of self-inventory is not easy; hence the need for Courageous Parenting. It is however, in my experience some of the most enriching work I have ever done. It has resulted in a multitude of gifts for my children and myself. I did not have to directly communicate any of my realizations to them. The work I did for myself changed me as a person and made me a better parent. They were living in the results of my loving myself more and feeling compassion for them and myself. A true gift for everyone!
I welcome comments from anyone who wants to share their experiences with drama in their homes and with their children. Hearing others experience and perspective helps us all to grow more. After all, we can only live one life at a time and there is so much to be gained from the experience of others!