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How do you deal with drama personalities? Help! adult content

All 5 of my kids have "drama" personalitity types. I've noticed that little things cause them big upset and they seem to over react to things.

For example, I had a child whine and act as if the end of the world was happening because her band-aid fell off. She could have just calmly asked for a new one, but instead got very upset.

It's little things, like a misplaced shoe, dropped a spoon on the floor, a cup of water knock over, anything, no matter how small gets whinned about, cried about and OMG the sky is falling.

I thought it was me and tried very hard to watch myself. Talked to my mom, she claims I was a very calm, very quiet child? What gives.

Then I relized that my dh has the same "it's the end of the world" trait.

I think I'm dealing with an inborn trait. Still, is there a way I can get them to relax and not whine or cry so much over little things? Can I fix it?


Asked by Anonymous at 4:34 PM on Jun. 4, 2011 in General Parenting

This question is closed.
Answers (9)
  • presence (you are a witness for them) and acceptance.
    I know I had fears about "encouraging" this behavior, encouraging bad habits, or making things worse, but I also knew that resistance was "not accepting" & that it is tremendously invalidating, and I believed unconditional acceptance is an important part of a child experiencing him/herself AS unconditionally loved.
    Thoughts like "She can have her feelings" helped me to let go of the need to fix/solve, reason, persuade, and STOP! This helped me to be present. Remembering that there really are no bad feelings was helpful, too. (Really!) That grief/disappointment, or rage over that which couldn't be changed, was something (literally an existential experience of my child's) for me to be present WITH, not something that was inherently problematic, needed to be solved, or was an indictment of ME. These realizations were helpful in soothing me enough to be present & allowing.

    Answer by girlwithC at 8:15 PM on Jun. 5, 2011

  • Kids are needy. Its all about them. They are selfish. It is how they survive. Eventually they outgrow it.

    Answer by gemgem at 4:59 PM on Jun. 4, 2011

  • How old are your kids? This seems pretty normal for children especially ones with bad tempers. When my son (he's almost 5) is full of drama, I just ignore him and let him scream it out. Show them that whining or crying isn't going to get them anything & isn't gong to fix the problem. Try not to "fix" the problem at first. Make them pick up the spoon, make them look for the misplaced shoe, show them its not the end of the world. Make sure you reward them with kind & uplifting words after they do pick up the spoon or find the shoe. Show them at fixing the problem instead of whining or crying is going to make the situation better. good luck

    Answer by loudnproud87 at 4:43 PM on Jun. 4, 2011

  • It might not be a genetic trait, but mroe of a learned one from watching him do the same thing. Try to get him to calm down his drama personality first and they will see by example.

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:46 PM on Jun. 4, 2011

  • I find that my resistance to what is happening in the moment (the "resistance" I'm talking about is judgment of the moment: thoughts about how this "shouldn't" be happening, or how someone is "too upset" or "should" have responded in some other fashion, that something isn't warranted or is too much/out of proportion) tends to contribute to the dynamic at hand. Feeling like someone's emotional expression (or intensity of it for a given situation) is wrong or needs to change is not accepting them, & they experience this resistance as a message of wrongness. This triggers a counter-resistance (after all to the child, it's NOT nothing, it's drops of water on a shirt, or it's a misplaced shoe, or the wrong color of something) of defending their validity, which means digging in & buying into their "story" (or their mind chatter about the circumstances) even more. They don't expect to be judged as valid or not; they expect to vent as

    Answer by girlwithC at 7:12 PM on Jun. 5, 2011

  • needed. lol If they catch a vibe of impatience/unhappiness, or get outright disapproving feedback (such as reasoning with, minimizing, etc.) from you, they are sidetracked from their goal to vent frustrations/disappointments [and a small thing can be an excuse or opportunity to offload a buildup of stresses, too, so sometimes that is going on when little things are triggers for big emotional expression.] Instead of moving through it, they get stuck defending the drama (of how horrible it IS, dangit!!) which means they are stuck IN the drama (which is a victim position, which is all about sending lots of blame, feeling powerless, & being miserable.) This, of course, sucks for you too, & triggers more annoyance/disapproval, or unhappiness with the situation, which means unacceptance.
    They need space & acceptance (permission) in order to be able to work through their feelings (which kids generally can do, without helpful tips or

    Answer by girlwithC at 7:22 PM on Jun. 5, 2011

  • guidance, logic, insight or advice from us.) If we can accept that this moment is what it is & how it is (which is reality, whether or not we accept it!), it can help us to let go a little. A lot of what is so unpleasant & agitating about their big upsets is what goes on inside of us, which is triggered by thoughts or assumptions (automatic thoughts, often out of our awareness) about what we "ought" to do (solve it, stop it, fix it, know what to do), or what this means (it's a problem if someone is upset & things don't smooth out quickly, or it points to my incompetence, etc.) that are connected to fear.
    Often we move to comfort or reason with them (about why something had to happen/can't happen, or why it's not a big problem it wasn't avoidable or they should make a calm request & get it addressed, etc.) & when that doesn't work to fix/solve things, we get quickly irritated/annoyed. It didn't work because it was taking issue

    Answer by girlwithC at 7:32 PM on Jun. 5, 2011

  • with their feelings/intensity & challenging their validity. Engaging them in any way on the level of whether or not they "should" or whether that "warrants" this reaction or how they "ought" to be proceeding sets them into defending their feelings & their story about them. This includes the effort to fix things, to compensate them for disappointments, or to distract them (these are anxious/avoidant responses to stop the upset & they send messages that disempower the kid--you need to be rescued, these feelings are too big to go through.) All these responses tend to escalate the kid's upset.
    Reflective listening that conveys acceptance & validation (which doesn't mean agreement, it just means acknowledging how this reaction & these feelings make sense from their point of view) is a response that gives them the space to HAVE their feelings & then move through them. Struggling with someone over whether their feelings about a spill

    Answer by girlwithC at 7:43 PM on Jun. 5, 2011

  • or a dropped spoon are warranted, or are overreactions, keeps them stuck in those feelings/defending them, but giving them permission (acceptance is different than approval or agreement; you are giving space & allowing, not saying this is your dream reaction!) provides the freedom to HAVE the feelings, which means at some point they can start to notice the problem (when they're not caught up with defending the validity of the reaction) and tweak their reactions to it. This lets them get in touch with their power & resilience ("OK, I can pick up the spoon, or ask for a clean one") and lets them experience how feelings come & go through them.
    I have learned this over time.
    It is a blessing to have learned it at all.
    I mention it to you because you have 5 kids, & I truly believe things could get a lot happier & more peaceful for you if you could explore taking the struggle/resistance out of it on your end & find ways to give

    Answer by girlwithC at 8:00 PM on Jun. 5, 2011