Preteens. Teeny boppers. Tweens. What do you call the 10-12 age range? Whatever you call them, they are an age group all their own. And they have these dramatic personality’s that really are almost comical!!
Now I know, when my extremely dramatic 10 year old gets all weepy over something small, to her it really is meaningful. If she’s crying about it, even if it’s ridiculous, she really does think it’s worth crying about. I don’t want to be insensitive, but really sometimes, it’s kinda funny. I’m not saying that I make fun of her, and laugh at the issue that made her sad. But her dramatic response is usually a bit humorous. When a child is 2 and says something that sounds grown up we think it’s so cute. As they start to get older that wears off a bit. But 10 really isn’t that old. Some people treat their 10 year old’s like teenagers, but really, they are so young! They really still are this little miniature person learning how to take in, and respond to, the things around them. When I see her like this, it makes her adorable to me again (she’s always adorable, but I mean the little kind of adorable) and I have to laugh! Not a big, embarrass her and make matters worse, belly laugh. But a little chuckle to myself about how she is perceiving the world at that moment.
Don’t get me wrong, she deals with some real issues that I wish she wouldn’t have to deal with. The other girls leaving her out, not making the grade she had hoped for on a test, a boy calling her a mean name. Those are the situations that break my heart and make me wish I could fix everything. And some of those things leave me fighting off the Mommy Claws that seem to just be waiting to come out!
But sometimes she acts like the world is an awful place because of small things. Her brother knocked her American Girl doll over, her sister used some of her doll clothes, or Mommy was so heartless as to let the little ones go in her room while she was gone… You know, serious stuff that just crushes her world in 2.3 seconds! It really is silly that she lets little things get to her on such a level. And I do get frustrated. But it’s better that I keep from getting worked up, laugh it off, and explain to her that it’s not as bad as she thinks it is. How do we get them to realize that some things are just not worth the tears? It’s hard to know how to react in those situations. I know it’s important not to belittle her feelings. I try to say something like “I understand that makes you sad.” I don’t want to encourage her to be a drama queen so I also try not to get too sucked in. To remain calm myself and explain to her that it’s probably not worth the reaction she had. I try to step outside of myself and look at how silly and cute it is that she thinks the issue is so serious. Maybe even take a moment to be grateful that she’s not going through something more real. And talk it out. Sometimes she’s determined to be upset so I just let her be. We’ll have a conversation like this; “It’s not that bad, honey. They didn’t mean to make you sad.” “Yes they did, they’re soo mean! Nobody cares how I feel!!” I’ll just tell her “Well, when you are ready to calm down and talk about this let me know.” And I separate myself from her. This is also good because it helps me not to get too grumpy with her. My patience tends to run thin during those times! The point is, I think the best thing we can do as a parent is to stay calm, try to talk to them, and not take it too seriously ourselves. Sometimes it’s hard to feel like your little princess has been wronged in some way! Remember to be a grown up and keep things in perspective yourself.
I never would have realized how emotional little girls really can be. I expected emotions to fly but I thought it started in the teen years. Wrong! And I’m not looking forward to the teen years when the issues become more real, and she is still full of emotions with hormones thrown in the mix! So I will enjoy this age, try to help her to make some sense of things, and love her just the way her little dramatic self is!
Smile through the trials