Drama and teenagers seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly, however I don’t think it’s intentional….it just happens! Drama can be a common occurrence with adults as well, but we don’t always call it “drama” we call it “grown-up stuff” but it’s still essentially the same thing.
So let’s define what drama is. According to Dictionary.com it’s any situation or series of events having vivid, emotional, conflicting, or striking interest or results. My definition of drama is when we have a negative emotional charge to a situation then allow it to become the focal point of our day, week or life, and it’s always being magnified to appear much larger then it is! This can be created within our own personal life situations or we can allow ourselves to be engaged in someone else’s life situation.
I found in my work with teenagers that one of the top things that influenced their life was the drama they got involved in, mostly at school with their friends. They would allow this drama to affect their mood, their sense of well-being, their friendships and their life at home.
Drama happens when we are paying more attention to what others are doing and very little attention to what we are doing. Some people seem to thrive on it, and when I say thrive I don’t mean in a positive way! Drama is judgment in action, as we take any given situation and judge it as right or wrong, good or bad according to our own personal views and beliefs without taking into consideration other peoples beliefs or perceptions or other underlying factors.
Teenagers are generally in a place where they are very focused in their world and trying to assert their own identity within that world. Some of these teenagers would like to include others in their world on their terms without realizing that perhaps it’s ok to just allow others to have their own experiences. It would be a good thing for teens to learn early on that we are not on this planet to force our point of view or take on the responsibilities of others, but to learn, grow and realize our own potential.
When engaging in a personal drama we will have an emotional trigger to something that is going on in our lives, and instead of exploring the reason behind the emotional trigger and working on clearing it so we can come to a place of peace, we allow the emotion to take over and be our primary focus. This usually entails living in that space as well as trying to bring others into that space with us. As a parent you have either experienced it yourself first hand or you have witnessed it or been a part of it with your teenager.
When your teen comes home from school distressed by some drama that has unfolded with his or her friends, talk to them about it. Don’t dismiss their feelings as silly or superficial because what they are experiencing is real to them! This is an opportunity to discover with your teen why the situation is causing anxiety, frustration or anger, it’s a window of insight to your teen’s own beliefs about themselves.
It is important to take the time to listen fully to whatever has unfolded, meaning being very present and allow them to voice all the gory details about what has transpired, their feelings about it and how they feel it’s impacting on them personally. By listening to them without judgment and with understanding you are giving your teen an opportunity to share an important part of their life with you, which in turn shows them you are an available support system for them. Secondly (because you have done your own personal work and realize that this situation has come to your teen as an opportunity for growth and personal awareness) you can offer them some conscious guidance on how to move through it so that they gain an understanding of how they can allow or disallow any given situation to be part of their life in an empowering way or disempowering way.
Teenagers do not always understand that by not engaging in drama they are asserting their own power of choice and taking responsibility for their own emotions, which frees them from being emotionally manipulated by situations outside of themselves. This translates into significantly less stress in their lives and better relationships all around.