How important is the tween and teen drama to you? When your child wants to tell you about something that happened at school; a friend didn’t sit by them at lunch, a friend didn’t walk with them to class, a boy or girl said something mean to them, a boy or girl teased them about their physical appearance or clothes; how do you respond? Do you blow it off and tell them that isn’t what is important in ‘real life’? Do you listen to them while also doing something else? Do you give them your undivided attention? What about solving the issue or problem?
Any and every time that Melaina has come to me with a, “Ugh, you would not belive…” story, I stop and listen. Period. Do I think it is a big deal? That would be no. It’s middle school for crying out loud, not ‘real life’. But to them it is real life. It is as real as life gets for them at this moment. It is their life. Melaina is gone for eight hours a day during school, including bus time. She sleeps nine hours a night – or she will once the excitement and anxiety of a new school year slows down. That is 17 hours of her day that I do not play a role in her life. That is left to the staff at her two schools and to her own subconscious – that’s a scary thought! That gives me seven hours to mom. Being I work and make dinner most nights, plus her homework, my blog and other work I do at home; that puts a dent in the time I get to mom as well.
I listen to every word she wants to tell me. And the ones she doesn’t. I try very hard to not tell her what to do. Unless, of course, it could bring direct harm to her or another individual. We have used the pro/cons list method. Have verbally or physically re-enacted the incident or scene. Allowing her to respond in various ways that she wishes she would have been able to do – those are usually not appropriate behavior, but during these times, I allow it. We’ve all said or done things internally that we really wish could be said or done in real life. Actually, I think my internal dialogue would seriously freak some people out. Also, we talk through ways to handle or respond should something similar happen.
In the crazy day to day of tween/teens with hormones, social acceptance, first loves, they need to know that what they have to say IS important. And if you have something important to say, head on over to my Facebook page and join the discussion there!