If you have a 'dramatic' child, did they get more or less intense as they got older? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 03-08-2011, 10:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OK, I know I'm probably over thinking things...

 

Dd is 6. She's also, for lack of a better word, dramatic. She feels things intensely. At dinner tonight, dh looked at her face and said "are you getting a rash around your mouth? Let me see?" This caused dd to burst out into a sob, run upstairs and throw herself sobbing on our bed. I finished my dinner and about 5 minutes later went up. After a few minutes, she'd calmed down. It turns out she was highly embarrassed because she'd colored around her mouth with a marker, and hadn't gotten it all off.

 

We get these kinds of intense meltdowns fairly often. She also takes a long time to process things. She had an argument with a friend at school today, and I heard about it on the entire walk on the way home plus 15 minutes afterward.

 

Several people have commented to us that her teen years are going to be rocky because she's so dramatic. I don't see her so much as dramatic as having these intense emotions that she has a hard time controlling. I'm hoping that increased age will give her more tools to deal with this intensity.

 

If you had an intense child, did they get harder to deal with as they got older? Do dh and I need to build ourselves a padded room now?


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#2 of 22 Old 03-08-2011, 10:25 PM
 
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DD1 was like that.... still is at 20. We still have blow-ups to the point I don't want her to live with us next summer. She's a straight-a student at college, great kid otherwise, very loving. But I'm tired. Everything is always so BIG (and usually not in her favor as she sees it). Prepare to build that room and hope you don't have to. I wish I'd addressed it earlier.

 

 

ETA- I have no idea what we'd have done to address it tho...

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#3 of 22 Old 03-09-2011, 07:39 AM
 
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DD, now almost 15 y.o., has always been a drama queen. She also has an essentially happy personality though, so if we give her a little space and time with some reassurance about whatever the drama is about, she tends to self-correct fairly quickly. I found that if we got sucked into the drama and emotion, it went on for a lot longer.  

 

I am certain that some people, observing us in different situations, thought we were uncaring, uninvolved or even emotionally negligent at times when she was in the midst of meltdown. But by remaining sympathetic but neutral, and by not making an equally big fuss about things, I think we provided her with a safe and steady foundation when she found herself being tossed about by her overwhelming emotions.  If she asked for our opinion, we tried to give her a wider perspective on whatever was troubling her. There's no point in trying to do this until she's ready to listen though. 

 

So far, her teen years have been wonderful (knock on wood). She has her moody moments, but then so do I  redface.gif

 

Oh, and a sense of humour is crucial, as long as she doesn't think you are laughing AT her (then, oy, watch the fireworks)!! 

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#4 of 22 Old 03-09-2011, 11:30 AM
 
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My dd tends to be dramatic but I don't think it has changed in intensity.  I am used to it and know how to work with her so I think we have less outbursts now.  I am also an intense person by nature so it helps that I remember how some of the things she is dealing with felt and how my mother's reactions made things worse so I am able to calmly help her work through things without taking it personally. 

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#5 of 22 Old 03-09-2011, 05:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

DD, now almost 15 y.o., has always been a drama queen. She also has an essentially happy personality though, so if we give her a little space and time with some reassurance about whatever the drama is about, she tends to self-correct fairly quickly. I found that if we got sucked into the drama and emotion, it went on for a lot longer.


Yes, I can totally see that. That's one reason that I spent 5-10 minutes finishing my dinner before going up to her. I needed to be centered.

 

 

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I am certain that some people, observing us in different situations, thought we were uncaring, uninvolved or even emotionally negligent at times when she was in the midst of meltdown. But by remaining sympathetic but neutral, and by not making an equally big fuss about things, I think we provided her with a safe and steady foundation when she found herself being tossed about by her overwhelming emotions.  If she asked for our opinion, we tried to give her a wider perspective on whatever was troubling her. There's no point in trying to do this until she's ready to listen though. 

 

So far, her teen years have been wonderful (knock on wood). She has her moody moments, but then so do I  redface.gif

 

Oh, and a sense of humour is crucial, as long as she doesn't think you are laughing AT her (then, oy, watch the fireworks)

 

 

It's good to hear that it hasn't gotten worse. Dd was amazed that I figured out that she'd drawn on her face "How did you figure that out?" My response was "I was 6 once too, so I kind of know these things." We then had a nice, light discussion on how it's really good that parents weren't born full grown but had to be kids first.
 

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My dd tends to be dramatic but I don't think it has changed in intensity.  I am used to it and know how to work with her so I think we have less outbursts now.  I am also an intense person by nature so it helps that I remember how some of the things she is dealing with felt and how my mother's reactions made things worse so I am able to calmly help her work through things without taking it personally. 


So what things work for you? Depending on the day, we either feed off of each other or do OK.

 


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#6 of 22 Old 03-09-2011, 07:43 PM
 
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Mostly staying calm, paying attention to dd's triggers and preventing problems as much as possible, paying attention to the feelings driving the angry words and to how my actions affect dd and acting accordingly, actively listening, and empathizing with dd's feelings about a situation without making emotional statements about situations (like problems between friends at school where my gut reaction is that the friend is awful and should be dumped, I usually find out through active listening and empathizing with her feelings that she was part of the problem too).  I ask her questions to help her put herself in someone else's shoes in different situations also and that is helping her think about how things she does affect other people not just about how she feels.  I have also found that helping her feel a good level of control over her life minimizes how emotional she feels so she is less stressed out.

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#7 of 22 Old 03-09-2011, 09:27 PM
 
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lynn i am not sure how to answer your question. dd was intense and is still intense.

 

is she still the drama queen? its hard for me to answer this coz i wonder if i have changed and have an easier time dealing with it.

 

i see this coming in waves. i think its because of hormones. she is fine some months and suddenly boom - everything is drama. lack of sleep, not enough physical exercise or social/mental stimulation, and hunger makes it all doubly worse. 

 

but i've found when its not hormonal the 3 golden rules from toddlerhood - sleep, hunger, exercise - still have a HUGE impact on dd. even at 2 (yeah she started then) i could tell exactly why she was freaking out. 

 

if you've seen a same kinda drama since younger and it hasnt gotten worse then beware it will. i am not sure if prepuberty has hit your dd yet. it hit my dd at 5 1/2 and by 6 she started stinky body odor. since then she goes in and out of moods. her first prepuberty drama was hugely intense. she would even describe that 'mama it feels like there is someone inside me making me do this. i know its wrong and i dont want to do it, but i cant stop myself.' depending on my mood i can either be compassionate or eyesroll.gif. usually tho' i am more compassionate esp. during 'mood swings' because i know her own turmoil. 

 

i tell you the hardest thing i have ever done is not LOL at my child. i have slipped a few times and its made it a 100 times worse. 

 

the thing that has increased is her sweetness. what a huge change is that she comprehends more and is able to take disappointments in her stride. that she is willing to accept life is bittersweet while she mours the disappointment. 


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#8 of 22 Old 03-10-2011, 04:43 PM
 
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Well, I think *I* was that kid.  I learned to self regulate to an extent.  I still have big feelings, but I don't run bawling from the dinner table anymore.  What helps *me* is for whoever I am with to be able to be light-hearted about whatever I'm spiralling about.  If I am being grumpy and overly dramatic, if my overt grumpiness or drama can be pointed out to me in a gentle, humorous way it usually diffuses everything.  If I don't get an internal or external prod, I tend to dwell or stew on strong feelings.

 

My teen years were not particularly difficult for my parents.  I was a little voaltile (but I had always been), but I didn't go wild or anything.

 

Tjej 

 

 

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#9 of 22 Old 03-11-2011, 01:24 AM
 
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I think all of us kids were like that to some extent - must have been fun for Mum! We're all a tad Aspie, which might explain it. Have we improved... er, more or less. :p One of my sisters still gets pretty scary if she's overtired or has low blood sugar; but she's very aware of those things. She also moved away from a very "triggering" environment to the other side of the world, where she seems to be a lot happier (you know, as much as I can tell from here). I think she just needed to find her own space free from the expectations and preconceptions and stuff surrounding her at home.

 

Me, I'm still incredibly dramatic inside my head, but I think I hide it a lot better from the outside world. I'm occasionally accused of being calm and/or good-tempered, which is frankly hilarious; but probably just as well that the world around me doesn't know what's going on inside my head! (DH, on the other hand, has no such illusions about my personality...)

 

 

 


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#10 of 22 Old 03-11-2011, 10:59 AM
 
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I was that kid, and am that parent, I have learned to self-regulate but am still very high energy and intense and can have trouble regulating my emotions about things/subjects I feel passionate about. I have a highly sensitive dd, and a intense, high energy ds....yeah, it's a really exhausting, both mentally and physically, mix and they both have trouble regulating emotions, and different things work for them. For dd hugs, empathy, soothing music, cuddly toys, and nvc works wonders, for ds you just got to leave him alone and let him get it out of his system and then approach it in a play parenting way later. Neither have gotten less intense/sensitive, but the regulating emotions thing is coming with age.


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#11 of 22 Old 03-11-2011, 02:51 PM
 
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Harness that energy! Perhaps think about getting your kid into some drama or dance or performing arts classes! My dramatic kid loves it!

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#12 of 22 Old 03-13-2011, 02:57 PM
 
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Both my kids have been dramatic at times. Ds way mellowed as he got older, Dd's intensified (became more focused?) or at least stayed the same. She feels things pretty intensely. I have learned, and helped her how to, take it down a notch or 5 over the years but I think in general it's just who she is.


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#13 of 22 Old 03-13-2011, 03:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by meemee View Post
i see this coming in waves. i think its because of hormones. she is fine some months and suddenly boom - everything is drama. lack of sleep, not enough physical exercise or social/mental stimulation, and hunger makes it all doubly worse. 

 

but i've found when its not hormonal the 3 golden rules from toddlerhood - sleep, hunger, exercise - still have a HUGE impact on dd. even at 2 (yeah she started then) i could tell exactly why she was freaking out. 


Interesting thoughts about the hormones. I haven't noticed any body changes that make me thing prepuberty yet (she'll be 7 in 2 months), but it wouldn't surprise me. I think the "Sleep, hunger, exercise" connection is probably more key. I come from a long line of people with mild reactive hypoglycemia. Dh tends to forget to feed dd (he doesn't get cranky when he's hungry, and he just doesn't remember).

 

 

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Originally Posted by meemee View Post

 

i tell you the hardest thing i have ever done is not LOL at my child. i have slipped a few times and its made it a 100 times worse.

 

Oh yes, it's sometimes very hard not to laugh at her drama. And it's a fine line between helping her take it less seriously and laughing at her.
 

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Originally Posted by Tjej View Post

Well, I think *I* was that kid.  I learned to self regulate to an extent.  I still have big feelings, but I don't run bawling from the dinner table anymore.  What helps *me* is for whoever I am with to be able to be light-hearted about whatever I'm spiralling about.  If I am being grumpy and overly dramatic, if my overt grumpiness or drama can be pointed out to me in a gentle, humorous way it usually diffuses everything.  If I don't get an internal or external prod, I tend to dwell or stew on strong feelings.

 

My teen years were not particularly difficult for my parents.  I was a little voaltile (but I had always been), but I didn't go wild or anything.


Good to know -- I'm working on the humor thing. She is a child for whom Playful Parenting works. I just will have to figure out how to transfer it to bigger kids.

 

 

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Me, I'm still incredibly dramatic inside my head, but I think I hide it a lot better from the outside world. I'm occasionally accused of being calm and/or good-tempered, which is frankly hilarious; but probably just as well that the world around me doesn't know what's going on inside my head! (DH, on the other hand, has no such illusions about my personality...)

 

lol.gif Well, if I can get her to feel her passion but not run screaming from the table, I'll be doing well. She's actually not bad tempered, just not very calm.

 

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Harness that energy! Perhaps think about getting your kid into some drama or dance or performing arts classes! My dramatic kid loves it!


Yes, when I can. She's a bit young. I don't know if she'll go in for acting but we're pursuing music (piano, choir next year).

 

It's good to know that perhaps there is hope for the teenage years!


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#14 of 22 Old 03-13-2011, 04:28 PM
 
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I *was* that kid.  And I STILL remember some things that were intense moments for me that probably would have been insignificant to somebody else.  But the reason I remember them is I felt disrespected and unheard.  So I would say that you did a good thing by going and talking to her...but waiting a little bit and finishing your dinner.  The difference between my life and what you did is nobody was willing to hear about it at another time.  I totally understand wanting to finish dinner, and she will learn that being dramatic is not going to get her immediate attention, which is good--BUT...she *will* be heard...at an appropriate time.  She needs to know that.

 

I'm still intense and dramatic....and it's usually about not having spoken up or even realized until something triggers it...that I feel disrespected and unheard.  Us 'dramatic' people don't mean to be the way we are....you're doing her a *huge* favor if you help her find ways to deal with it and appropriate times to talk about what is behind a 'dramatic' moment.

 

I'm over 30 and still figuring out how to re-center and re-focus out of my own intense moments.  I have a DD who is this way too....and I know now I've got to figure out what works for her.  :)


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My DD is very young but very dramatic already... the book Raising Your Spirited Child: Workbook really opened my eyes to a lot of ways on how to handle her.


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#16 of 22 Old 03-13-2011, 11:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

Good to know -- I'm working on the humor thing. She is a child for whom Playful Parenting works. I just will have to figure out how to transfer it to bigger kids.

i tell you lynn this is my favourite part of parenting right now. to find the correct side of the fine line. dd is the silent kind of drama queen. if looks could kill. its still a shut down where she cant function. your dd leaves the dining table in a storm screaming. mine huffs off silently stamping loudly and just goes to her bed and weeps piteously. and yes its always my fault and i've done it. when she is at that place - nothing works. i never thought about it till you mentioned it and yes - that space to get it together is the KEY to helping dd. she needs to cry it out and settle down a little bit. when its been super intense i''ve just held her as she cried in bed.

 

humor at the right time reminds me of her younger years. you know when you say 'oh you are ok' after a fall and they brush themselves off and run off. but god help you if you ask are u hurt and you have a tantrum on your hand. same thing. if its minor humour works. but if its due to the 3 needs or emotional attitude she is sunk for.

 

she loves sarcasm or straight face say ridiculous things humor (keeping in line with pantomime which was my best parenting tool when younger). one thing i have noticed she doesnt lose it in school or in public. that has gone way down or should i say stopped. she saves it for me and then our 2 mile walk home works really well in hashing out what was going on.   

 

also another thing. dd is a v. sensory child. since we've moved in with my room mate who uses dd to wrestle and help with his yoga - her dealing with drama has gone down. they are either few and far between or the intensity is not there at times. but its that horsing around, wrestling (seriously focused on attacking room mate, getting angry that he was winning and trying to get an upper hand in the wrestling match) has had the biggest impact on her intensity. 

 

however i also notice by friday she is at her worst. recharge over the weekend, survive teh week (not enthu about school) and then let go everything bottled up on friday. 

 

the basic foundation of my parenting tools right from the beginning has been humor. 


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#17 of 22 Old 03-16-2011, 08:21 PM
 
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My DS  (now 13) reacts strongly to things, and when he was a young child. He has learned to self-regulate (for the most-part), and I think OP's daughter is learning to do the same. She took herself off to her room, instead of having a big scene at the table.

 

So what I did (and still do) is:

* Try to stay calm myself

* Remind him that he has a right to his feelings, but he does not have the right to make everyone around him suffer for it (so going off by himself to process his emotions is good)

 

I also sometimes spoke to him about how feelings can be like a huge wave, and that he can learn to try and "surf" them, ride them out. That he can try and learn to observe the shape of the wave so to speak. This was stuff I said when he was about 7 or 8 - I think younger he would not have understood.

 

I also tried to encourage an aspect of stoicism. That you may be feeling like a storm inside, but to remain outwardly calm.  Sometimes would also try to help him sort out small things (I can't find my socks!) from big things (our cat was dying). Trying to teach proportional reactions.

 

I think things have improved a lot from when he was a young child.  But he just turned 13, so ask me in 7 years about whether the teen years are more stormy. But I live in hope that his growing maturity will continue.

 

Good luck.

 

 

 

 

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#18 of 22 Old 03-17-2011, 07:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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* Remind him that he has a right to his feelings, but he does not have the right to make everyone around him suffer for it (so going off by himself to process his emotions is good)

 

LOL! I tell dd exactly this all the time. 

 

And it's a good reminder that storming off to her room is a step forward in self-regulation.

 

 

Quote:
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I also sometimes spoke to him about how feelings can be like a huge wave, and that he can learn to try and "surf" them, ride them out. That he can try and learn to observe the shape of the wave so to speak. This was stuff I said when he was about 7 or 8 - I think younger he would not have understood.

 

 

that's a really nice metaphor -- I think that will work really well with dd (well, after she gets over her terror of waves.... right now that'd probably just freak her out more. I'll have to store this away for a couple of years. 


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#19 of 22 Old 03-18-2011, 11:25 AM
 
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I hope the dramatics taper. I am trying to get my 6 yr old to clean up his own Legos, and he is in the next room screaming his lungs out over it. 

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#20 of 22 Old 03-18-2011, 11:37 AM
 
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Anybody have tips on how to help my highly sensitive/dramatic dd(6 today!!) stop yelling over little upsets? She usually doesn't do this in public, it's mainly at home. We've tried playful yelling, going outside/bedroom to yell, and are now trying just immediate attention/empathy and hugs.


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#21 of 22 Old 03-18-2011, 02:48 PM
 
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We generally have a spot for calming down (some might call it a time in or a time out) and once the child is calm THEN we address whatever the issue was.  There is also a little Kai Lan DVD (if that isn't too juvenille) that has the characters working to "calm, calm, DOWN :)"

 

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#22 of 22 Old 03-21-2011, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You know, I was thinking more about this, and I have to remember too that I really do enjoy her "positive" drama - she and I went to buy some thread to fix a shirt of hers, and we got a little beginner needlepoint kit for her to try. She was so exciting she was bouncing up and down while she waited for me to open it. We've had 2-3 meltdowns about it since, while she's come to grips with (a) the stiches for needlepoint aren't like those for sewing, (b) the directions for how to do it do actually make sense and (c) we need to cut the yarn shorter to keep it from getting tangled.

 

I have to keep reminding myself that her positive intensity will serve her well. She's passionate about things, especially injustices (OK, or perceived injustices), and could really be a force for change in the world.
 

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 lack of sleep, not enough physical exercise or social/mental stimulation, and hunger makes it all doubly worse.


Another reminder of that. I'd promised to do something with her yesterday and we forgot. Major major drama at bedtime when she remembered. But the reality was that she was overtired. She'd been awake until midnight the night before (she went to bed at 9:30, but kept herself awake reading and doing other things). I'm hoping we've got more equilibrium today. She fell asleep earlier, and then slept until 9. (Gotta love spring break!)


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