Sometimes it's all about drama

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I have a daughter. Boy, do I have a daughter! I had three boys first and then a daughter.  She is not easy. There is drama in everything. I mean everything.  She is strong-willed, stubborn and demanding.  I call her the Demon Princess.  Don’t get me wrong. I love my daughter.  I really do, but there are days I am ready to sell her on EBay.   

 Today she came home sobbing!  Nothing new. Sobbing for her is no big surprise for me.  But this was that heaving breath-sucking sobbing.  She was destroyed and her world was coming to an end.  As I held her on my lap she managed to tell me her story between heaves and sobs.  What I got was that one girl said she couldn’t play with her and the other girl said she didn’t want to play her ever again and only wanted to play with the first girl.  And of course, my girl did nothing wrong to instigate this whole thing.  Right.

 As I listen to all this tale of woe and drama I am brought back to my own childhood.  I remember many times when my friendships ended and fell to pieces, but within days, hours or even minutes all was well again in my world.  I also remember that my Mom did nothing to help smooth things over between my friends and me.  If she did anything at all it was to point out my own failings as a friend.  At the time and throughout my childhood I hated that. I hated that she wouldn’t take my side.  So, as I sat there with my daughter and felt her pain I thought about what to do.

 Do I go and talk to the little girls?  Do I go talk to the moms?  Do I keep my girl in the house and not let her risk getting hurt again? Do I let her figure this whole thing out on her own?  Do I point out her failings as a friend?   Do I take action or do I do nothing?

 Well, I did the combo pack.  I talked to her about her own behavior.  I am not blind to the fact that she can be bossy and over-bearing and possibly make her friends sick and tired of her.  I discussed this with her.  I listened to her side of the story, which was hard to understand between blubbering, whining, and all the twists and turns a little-girl tale can take. 

 Then I went and talked to one of the moms that seemed to have the most info.  I got the story straight thanks to the mom. And we decided that girl-drama has to work itself out.   

 It’s true.  I want to step in and fix things. I want my daughter to have playmates and friends.  I want her to get along with others.  But I have a feeling she will get there faster if I take a deep breath, give her a hug, listen to her tale, and let her ride it out. 

Today the girls are not friends. But they could be best friends again by tomorrow, who knows, maybe even by this evening.   I suppose letting my daughter suffer and think that her friend doesn’t want to be her friend and then letting her try to work out why and how she is going to fix this is better than me fixing it for her.

 As I hugged her close to me while she was in deep emotional pain I thought to myself that she will grow up strong.  She is already strong, but these little experience will make her stronger. Maybe when she hits those over-the-top-middle-school-drama years she will have what she needs to cope.  

Because in that moment her world was ending, but about a half hour later her world was back to normal and all I did was listen to her and love her and point out her failings.  

Yeah.  I did that.  I pointed out her failings.  But she went outside and she played and she knew if she screwed up and got all bossy and mean that her world might come crashing down again.  So this time maybe she will take a deep breath and accept that she can’t always have her way. 


Chris Bernstein

 Los Alamos Columnist