We don’t do drama.
You would think with a house full of six girls first, all currently ages twenty to eleven, we’d have enough drama goin’ on around here to get some Academy Awards. And while it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if some of my daughters found themselves up for such an honor in the future (being such film buffs), in our home there are no slamming doors, no bouts of bursting into tears, and no yelling and fussing at each other over the ridiculous and mundane.
So I wondered why on this for a good bit the last few days, and wanted to share with you some factors I think helped to create a “drama free zone.”
First, My Children All Know Jesus. Well, numbers 1-12 do…Cricks, Stone, and Ver haven’t made a personal profession of faith yet…but it’s comin’. Personally. Intimately. They daily interact with Him. The Holy Spirit, whose very fruit includes self control, lives in them. So let me just give credit first and foremost to where it is due…HIM.
Secondly, we have a “talk it out” policy in place. Notice, not a cry it out, yell it out, or silent treatment it out policy. Let me give a recent example.
We had a big family lunch a few weeks ago after church. Big kids are all at one end having a jolly time talking and laughing with some friends. Suddenly something is said and a flash of embarrassment/pain/anger runs across one of the older girl’s faces. I didn’t hear what was said, so I waited until later that evening to bring it up privately in the bathroom as we were getting ready for bed.
“What happened today that you looked so upset at lunch?” I asked.
Tip #1: Pay attention mom and dad. If you wanna avoid drama, keep an eye on conversations and emotions and FIND time to discuss them and talk about it when everyone has had time to cool off and consider things.
She proceeded to tell me about how a sister had been treating her as though she was not pulling her fair weight around the home over the course of the last week or so, and made a bit of a joke about it at lunch. Which I agreed is completely not true, she in fact has been working very hard. And then she mentioned how another sibling said, in front of everyone, what a mess the kitchen was last night…now these things were said in a jesting manner, but this child was hurt. And you can’t argue if someone is hurt or not…they ARE hurt. You can only remedy that by talking it out.
So I called offending sister number one into the bathroom…and then told the offended that it was her chance to tell this sister what had been hurting her.
Tip#2: Quickly bring both parties together and help as a mediator if necessary, but let them confront one another.
Which she did, honestly and without drama. The offender quickly apologized and said she would be mindful of her tone and instead work on encouraging this sibling.
I then called the next one to make a joke at lunch into the bathroom. When she arrived, the offended sister explained how it was not funny to her to be made fun of or that her zone was not clean…and especially in front of a crowd.
Tip#3: Let all involved parties stay in the room until the issue is resolved, so that each person involved can see what a compounding effect careless words/actions have.
Right away this sibling apologized and admitted it was a thoughtless remark, said in jest but it was not funny at all. She agreed she would not want her job belittled or mocked in front of a crowd and that if there really was a problem with a job not being completed consistently, the time to address it would be in private anyhow.
Tip #4: Effective conflict resolution takes time…no quick fix here, take the time now or lose your mind later, your choice!
By the end of the 25 minutes, all three siblings were joking and happy again. Problem resolved, and potential bitterness averted.
But parents of wee ones, take notice here!!! If you have a small child given to tantrums, fits, instant tears over every little thing, and you don’t work on teaching the child self control, and consistently pray over that child to accept Christ and move towards a personal growing relationship with Him where more and more of His Spirit is working through them, then you will have a heck of a time in those teen years. Don’t accept drama when they are little, and don’t settle for drama when they are teens! Give everything a “talk it out” approach where discussions may be truthful, but not hurtful. Honest, but not blunt. Take the time to teach them how to deal with conflict appropriately within your own home…and save their future marriages. Save their relationships with friends and siblings. Save yourself the headache!
Teaching conflict resolution is a work in progress and with some children it is definitely easier than others. If you have a child whose love language is words of encouragement, then they may struggle with other people’s opinions of them more than their siblings…which may initially display itself as “drama.” This is why God gave us YEARS to train our children…it takes time and consistency.
Please share your non-drama suggestions, tips, questions or experiences in the comments below.