QUESTION: My 12-year-old daughter is something of a “drama queen.” This behavior is new for her. Can you give me some insight?
ANSWER: Without knowing your daughter, I can only speak in generalities… Certainly adolescence is a time of “drama”for many girls*. With the awakening of sexuality, the concerns over body image, the development of more abstract thinking, the social worries, and the identity issues; life for your daughter is “dramatic”. However, all behaviors also have a function; “drama” satisfies something desired and probably lacking in your daughter’s emotional, social, and spiritual needs.
I believe we are creatures of passion; it is passion (drama) that makes life exciting, interesting, and motivating. We long to be fully alive. Passion, however, is also dangerous — socially, physically, and emotionally. Most of us find “safe” ways of experiencing passion. (Often, for girls these are things like movies, music, romance novels, horses, fantasy, sports, etc.) I would imagine that your daughter has had a “taste” of passion and was exhilarated. Wouldn’t it be great to live passionately all the time? Wouldn’t one feel wonderfully alive? Wouldn’t life be so much more exciting and worth living?
The functionof drama (rolling around in powerful emotions) is to fulfill your daughter’s longing to be valued, loved, important, exciting, different, desirable, enviable, intimate…. That longing is good. God made us to desire such “drama”. Our God is a god of passionate relationships, deep emotions, strong convictions, sacrificial love, flamboyant creativity, infinite power, omniscient awareness, and incomprehensible forgiveness — a God of Holy Dramain both character and action.
Your job is to do far more than just have “insight” into your daughter’s behaviors, however. As a Christian parent, you must recognize that her “drama” is an indicator of deep desires that can only be FULLY met in a relationship with Christ. Don’t let her settle for “counterfeit” drama. Picture the “drama” of having a real, dynamic and personal relationship with the eternal Creator of the universe who deeply and passionately loves, forgives, entices, challenges, gives and overwhelms us with his presence in our lives.
Your daughter must observe and experience you as a woman who lives day by day caught up in the Holy Drama of her faith-walk. I pray you will entice your daughter with the possibilities!
On the “practical” side of things…when your daughter is “dramatic,” mirror her feelings and increase the bond between the two of you by saying something like: “Wow, I can tell this is important to you! Tell me more.” Or, “That sounds hard, annoying, exciting, sad, (name the feeling) …” and then give her a hug. Let her know she has the freedom to express herself with you.
*The emotional center of the female brain is two and a half times larger than the emotional center of the male brain. In addition, it is highly connected to all the other parts of the brain, particularly memory.
PS: As a challenge to you, Mom: How do you find drama in you own life? Do you settle for counterfeits? Have you numbed yourself to the passion you still deeply desire? Your daughter’s behavior might be calling you to evaluate your own relationship with Jesus. Seize this opportunity!
Jack Lipski, M.A.
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