Monday, February 16, 2009

5 Ways to Deal With Dramatic Teens and Tweens

This guest post is by Vanessa Van Petten who runs a parenting blog written from the kid's perspective with 17 teen writers.

5 Ways to Deal With Dramatic Teens and Tweens

I might have been a drama queen. Not for all of teendom, but definitely for a few years…maybe the boys part of my teenage years. I do not know how my parents put up with me! Here are a few tips for you, if you have a Drama Queen or King:

1) Superlatives Rule

It can be a little easier dealing with a Teen Drama Queen or King if you listen and interact with them knowing that superlatives are it. Drama Queens always say (get it always)

“This is he worst day of my life.”

“She is the hottest girl I have ever seen”

“I am the ugliest girl in my school.”

In a drama teen’s mind, there is no grey. Trying to convince them of this is futile. Instead understand that this is how they feel at the moment. It really does feel like the worst hair day on earth.

2) It feels permanent

When your king or queen is in the heat of a dramatic moment, not only is there no happy medium (see above), but also it feels like it will last forever. For teens and tweens the part of their brain that rationalizes is not fully developed, they really feel that upset, and they cannot always see the light at the end of the tunnel.

3) Repeat and empathize

When talking to a teen drama king or queen when they are in the height of a meltdown or blow up, I always repeat whatever they are saying to me in an empathetic tone. Many times, teens just want to be heard, if you repeat what they are saying, you are validating that you hear them.

4) Wait until they calm down to un-reinforce the behavior

Repeating and empathizing that their math teacher is the cruelest person in the world can be seen by the teen as reinforcing that behavior. Once they calm down it is good to go back with them and ask them if they realize she is not the cruelest person in the world and perhaps they did not have to yell and scream to get you to hear them.

5) Ask them what do next time

In this post-drama debrief ask them how you should handle it next time. Say something like, “When you get upset about school I want to calm you down, but I also want to let you vent and think rationally, what can I do next time, what do you need to hear?” This can make them feel supported and listened to which can cut down on dramatic outbreaks.

Be patient, all teens go through dramatic phases whether it is because of hormones or boyfriends, be patient and we will come back to normal!

Related Articles:

Why Teens Have to Be the Best or Worst (

3 Ways Parents Can Get Teens to Talk (

What Do Teens Today Really Worry About? The Top 5 Issues Revealed (

By Vanessa Van Petten who is the teen author of the parenting book “You’re Grounded!” She writes a parenting blog along with 12 other teen writers from the kid's perspective to help parents. Her work as a young family peacemaker have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Teen Vogue, Fox 5, CBS 4 and much more!

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