“Maturity starts where drama ends.”
I live with two teenagers and our house if filled with drama. I tease that when this stage of my life as a parent is over, I will have PDSD (Post Dramatic Stress Disorder).
But the ugly truth is I bring just as much drama to the table as they do. Not always out loud because I have learned how to contain or temper my drama so it is more palatable (or at least that is my story . . . and I’m sticking to it.) But clearly I can be just as dramatic as they can.
But let’s go back to teenagers for a minute.
Just exactly what is it that teens and tweens do that has adults rolling their eyes?
They . . . .
• Have Intense and unstable emotions: I often say that I’m not worried about my kids getting enough exercise because they do their mood swings every day!
• Blame others for their disappointments and upsets: Watch out, if you are in the vicinity when something goes wrong. It will likely be your fault that traffic was bad or the school makes them take tests.
• Over-generalize! : They use generalized language ALL the time. Words like All, Never, Always! Sometimes I think they will NEVER stop doing this.
• Rely on the approval of others to boost their self-esteem: This one can have some really nasty side effects as teens struggle to develop and maintain a self-concept. Their self-image is at the mercy of virtual strangers!
• Have a distorted self-image: Teens are challenged when it comes to seeing themselves as they really are. They are very poor judges of their body, how they stack up other their peers and whether they are handsome or pretty. They can vacillate between a disproportionally high view of themselves or an in-the-gutter self-image.
• Have a strong desire to be noticed: They really want to be seen . . . unless they don’t. They want to be regarded as important as long as you don’t call them out too much and embarrass them. A very tenuous place if you are their parent or teacher.
Here’s the question. Do any of these sound familiar? Do you recognize yourself? If you are honest I bet you do because I have never met a person (even those who are wildly successful and very enlightened) who have been able to completely bypass these feelings. And when these feelings come, things can be quite dramatic.
So what’s the answer? For teens, it’s usually time and some frontal lobe development. For us as adults, it’s looking at what is underneath this drama.
There is usually a lack of clarity and not knowing which direction to go. Or there is fear. Fear can have us acting all kinds of crazy.
When drama comes take a deep breath and ask “What is this really about.” Then use that frontal lobe and “right size” your thoughts and feelings. (I’ll write more about how to do this soon.)
If you need help, go get it!
Cheri is a speaker, trainer, coach and has authored two books. She helps people and organizations break out of old mindsets so they can lead happy, motivated and fired up lives. She blogs to ignite you and help you get unstuck!