I would like to inform you readers that I lived a wholesome, drama-less teenage life, but we all know that would be a lie. I think we ALL experienced some level of it at some point. Either it was in middle school, high school, or possibly even into our college years. But whenever it was, it happened.
The older I get, the more I look back on those days and realize some of it was unavoidable, but some of it could have been cut off at the knees. Now that I officially have a teenage daughter plus two tweens, I find myself in the throws of it all.
Drama Isn’t Completely Unavoidable
Let’s be real. Drama in reality isn’t completely unavoidable. There is bound to be some here and there, even for those who try to avoid it. But there are ways to help reduce it–and to some degree–eliminate it.
One of the biggest lessons I try to teach my girls when it comes to friends is how to cut loose the bad friends.
What exactly do I mean?
Sometimes in life we have friends that we hold onto because when things are good, they are really good, and we live for those moments. When things are bad, though, they are really bad. That is when the drama is at its height.
Cutting Out Toxic Relationships is Okay
My daughter happens to be loyal to a fault. So some friends are just toxic for her. What I am trying to teach her is that cutting out those toxic or bad friends is completely okay.
You don’t have to apologize for saying goodbye to a “friend” who makes you feel bad. Friends don’t make you feel less than you are. Instead, they build you up, create a safe space for you, and bring you joy. Teaching my girls this now will hopefully make those “weeding out the bad friends” decisions easier and give them confidence to do so as they grow older.
Playing Into the Drama and Avoiding It, Too
Playing into the drama can also be an issue with friends. Middle school, and on into high school, the need to “fit in” is at the forefront of most teenagers. Most of the decisions they make are driven by that one goal: “fitting in.”
Sometimes trying to be a part of a group means playing into the drama. This sometimes means agreeing with the group when they are talking badly about someone or sharing that video you know you shouldn’t just because your so-called friend said to.
Saying no is hard even as an adult. But saying no as a teenager feels like social suicide. I remind my girls that they can stand quiet in those taboo conversations or choose to turn their phones off when things get out of hand.
Those are easy ways to avoid the drama. I would like to say I was that type of teenager, but that would be a lie. I either went with the crowd and made decisions I knew were wrong, or I was bold and paid the price.
Making the Choice
Making sure our teenagers know that no matter what the drama is, how they choose to handle it is ALWAYS their choice. They have the freedom to stand by, walk away, or stand up.
I try not to pressure my girls into being who I was or who I am now. I am a bold personality, and they are not. Giving them tools to make their own choices and reminding them that they are in control when it comes to friends is empowerment.
I know they are going to get caught up in the drama from time to time. But I also know that sometimes drama finds people. I let them know that life will give them lemons, but what they do with those lemons is completely up to them. This will carry them through these very hard years, and hopefully they will end up a little more enlightened and wiser in the end.