Are you raising a drama queen?

Are you raising a drama queen?
By Dr. Debra Mandel

Drama queens come in all shapes and sizes -- I'm not referring to emotional vampires who don't care about anyone but themselves. The d.q. I'm addressing is someone who is overly sensitive and who reacts to things in a bigger way than is necessary. Why? because she or he truly believes that she is in danger or that something bad will happen if she's not completely vigilant. DQs are often very embarrassed by their reactions after a situation has passed and the "imagined" danger never happened.

Some people become drama queens because they're born with greater sensitivity and hence they react more strongly to things than do others who are less inherently sensitive. Others become drama queens more as a result of mini or major traumas or dramas in their younger years (or later in life) and inadequate tools to deal with their struggles.

Here are a few tips to minimize potential drama queen syndrome:

  • communicate openly about difficult subjects with your child.
  • give suggestions and tools for how to handle conflicts and upsets.
  • pay close attention to any of your own queenish reactions to things.
  • teach your child healthy boundary setting--letting her know that she has limits and that's "okay"
  • discourage perfectionism on things that really don't matter.
  • encourage creative outlets to express emotions such as through journaling, dance, cooking, performing arts, etc.

    An overly dramatic teenager sometimes is just a part of growing up, but if you have a "Drama Queen" in your life there can be more serious issues at hand like always causing trouble, anxiety, seeking attention, or depression. Recognizing it and getting the tools to help your daughter (and yourself).

  • if your daughter shows any of the above signs that last more than a short while, it's a good idea to seek some professional counsel to make sure there isn't a biochemical cause.
  • be empathetic instead of judgmental, but don't dive into a pity party with her.
  • try to get to the source of what underlies these behaviors. is she having conflicts with her peers? Does she lack self-esteem? Did she get rejected by a boy she had a crush on? Communicate with her your awareness of her struggles even if she's not talking to you about what's going on with her.
  • help her develop a thicker skin and find out if she's carrying to heavy of a load because she's afraid to disappoint what she believes other people expect of her.

    About Dr. Debra Mandel:
    "Dr. Debra" Mandel, Ph.D., is a recognized and respected psychologist, author, columnist, speaker, and media expert with over twenty years experience as a relationship expert. She treats pre-teens through geriatrics who suffer from anxiety, stress, childhood mistreatment, eating disorders, addictions, workplace/career issues, and general life concerns.

    Dr. Debra is the author of four books:

    Don't Call Me a Drama Queen: A Guide for the Overly Sensitive and Their Significant Others Who Need to Learn to Lighten Up and Go With the Flow (Alyson Books, 2008)
    >> Buy the book on Amazon

    Dump That Chump: From Doormat to Diva in Only Nine Steps-A Guide to Getting Over Mr. Wrong (Harper Collins, 2007)
    >> Buy the book on Amazon

    Your Boss is Not Your Mother: Eight Steps to Eliminating Office Drama and Creating Positive Relationships at Work (Agate, 2006)
    >> Buy the book on Amazon

    Healing the Sensitive Heart: How to Stop Getting Hurt, Build Your Inner Strength, and Find the Love You Deserve (Adams Media, 2003, and Airleaf Publishing, 2005).
    >> Buy the book on Amazon

    She also has two CDs: The Abuser-Friendly Syndrome and Creating Healthy Boundaries in the Workplace.


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