It’s Not Your Drama, Momma
Last Mother’s Day, Kelli gave me this card. Kelli, the girl who left her Drama Queen Drive street sign in her bedroom when she went to college, definitely fought the temptation to get dragged into–or to dive headfirst into–“he-said-she-said” adolescent theatrics. She often came home from school all worked up about the day’s most recent tween or teen crisis. As she relayed all the details, I listened as if she were discussing a national crisis (to let her get it out of her system), and then I’d follow with the same phrase, every time:
It’s not your drama. Stay out of it.
Now, I’d like to say she stayed out of it 100% of the time. But…I’m not a perfect mom and I didn’t raise perfect kids. However, having raised two teenage girls, I feel like we dealt with a less-than-average amount of drama. At least, our home life was rarely interrupted by it, so that’s a good sign. This is partly because of something my mom used to tell me when I was a teen and had become the topic of somebody’s unkind conversation at school:
If everybody’s talking about you, it means they’re giving someone else a break.
My mom’s “take-one-for-the-team” approach worked for me. It gave me perspective. Everyone gets her turn as the gossip target. It also made me more aware of which conversations I should choose to participate in and which ones I should choose to avoid. Since my mom’s words of wisdom worked for me, I’ve repeated them many times to my own girls. Here’s another favorite line Kelli and Randi have heard:
If someone says something bad about you that isn’t true, you have to live so no one believes it.
When Randi was 14 a boy started calling her a wh**e. (I think he liked her, but she didn’t like him…drama, drama, drama.) We had this conversation a number of times throughout the month this name calling went on:
Randi: Mom, he called me a who**e in algebra again today.
Me: Well, are you?
Me: Then who cares? People who know you know it’s not true.
Now, you might be thinking, “What? You let this go on for a whole month, and you didn’t do anything about it?!”
Yeah, I kind of wondered at times if I should step in…especially since I teach at the school and saw the boy in the hall every day. But, you know, it just didn’t feel right. People are going to say things about my kids, and I think my kids need to learn how to cope with that, how to ignore it and not respond to it. That’s not to say everything should be ignored…but probably 99.9% should be.
I’ve spent almost 23 years in high school hallways watching drama unfold by the minute. Boyfriends and girlfriends break up. Best friends become sworn enemies. A girl melts down because a zit popped up on her chin. By lunch, Romeo & Juliet are in love again, the BFF’s exchange friendship bracelets, and the zit is covered by a concealer found at the bottom of a backpack.
I’m not insensitive to these kiddos’ feelings–not at all. Because I know, in the moment, what they feel is very real to them. But the key word here is moment. Because that’s about how long most drama lasts, and I know everybody’s going to survive, and today’s crisis will be tomorrow’s forgotten memory.
Unless adults get involved. And when we do, a few things happen, and none of it reflects well on us.
Our kids don’t learn to grow a thick skin, or to discern what is worth standing up against and what isn’t. If we step in, they don’t learn to defend themselves.
Our kids follow our lead. If drama is important to us, it will be important to them. Kids lack perspective, so everything will be a crisis and that’s what our lives will revolve around. I’ve had to remind myself on occasion, “You teach in a high school. You’re not in high school. You graduated a long time ago, so act like it.”
We look foolish. Drama ignites like a flash combustion that burns hot and burns out fast…but not before we have time to jump into the middle of flame. We defend our child, admonish the one who offended him, and the next thing we know, our kid invites that kid for a sleepover. What?! Yep, and that dad you shamed for raising such an unkind child is the one dropping off the boy at your house. Awkward.
Our kids do it, too. Yes, it’s true. As much as it hurts my heart to think my girls have said things untrue or unkind about others, I’d be an idiot to believe otherwise. Drama is an ugly part of growing up. And when words hurt our kids, it may be the best way for them to learn that their words can be hurtful, too.
Now, I’ve suggested this but let me state this clearly. There are circumstances that require us to step in. Drama is not bullying. Drama is not intimidation. Drama is drama–and we all know what it looks like.
The Mother’s Day card Kelli gave me is on my nightstand, tucked inside a devotional. Sorry for all times I saved the drama for my mama. She may be sorry, but I’m not. I want her to rant and vent and get it all out, and let me be the keeper of her drama, so she’s less likely to spread it to anyone else. Then I can remind her she, too, has graduated from high school, so act like it.
Drama can be ridiculous, but it can also be painful. How do you help your children deal with drama? How difficult is it for you to stay out of the drama, especially if your child’s feelings have been hurt? Do you agree that drama is different from bullying? I feel this can be a touchy subject, so I’d love to hear your comments!
The MOM Journey News
I owe you a winner! Who will receive the lavender essential oil AND the Hobby Lobby gift card from the October give-away? The winner will be announced soon!
The November give-away…where is it? IT’S NOT HERE! No worries! I haven’t decided what awesome gift to give away yet…but there will be a give-away. There’s always a give-away! Stay tuned!
Waiting for Butterflies COVER REVEAL!!!!
I’ve seen it!!! I LOVE it!!! And I can’t wait to share it! This cover isn’t just any book cover. It has a fun story I can’t wait to share…and the story is why the cover is so special. A true work of heart…SOON!
SOMETHING NEW FOR YOU!
Be watching for a”bonus” post from The MOM Journey this week. Leah DeCesare is a mom blogger and debut author like me. Leah will be guest blogging for us Thursday evening. This weekend is daylight savings time, so she’s going to tell us how she turns her extra hour into five!
The MOM Journey wouldn’t be the same without you!