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How much do you listen to the drama?

(12 Posts)
izmoll1 Mon 04-Jul-16 07:59:25

My DD (13) has constant anxieties about school and friendships. Every day there is a new drama of some sort, which will lead to her needing attention, comfort and support. Obviously I want to be a loving and sympathetic parent, but quite often I feel that she needs so much from me that I feel that I have nothing left to give. I also have another DD (12) who has problems of her own and I have a parent with dementia that Im trying to organise a Nursing care home for ( battling with SS). I often dont feel like I have any emotional reserves left at the end of each day ( having tried to support, comfort and listen to DD) and I know my husband is feeling neglected by me. He tries to support her also, but ends up frustrated and angry with it all, as a lot of her anxieties are actually pretty trivial ( although not to her). Am I / are we selfish to expect to have some time to ourselves in the evening without DD coming downstairs crying or needing yet another chat? How much attention is too much?

corythatwas Mon 04-Jul-16 13:30:55

I feel your pain. My dd has always had high anxiety (and ended up needing medication) and I know precisely that feeling of having been drained dry.

A couple of things have helped us over the years:

lending a listening ear without engaging- as you would to a toddler with a grazed knee, sympathising with their upset rather than with the actual damage

teaching dd a few tricks to manage her own emotions- relaxation tricks, breathing etc.

being open with her about the fact that this is her anxiety and not the actual direness of the situation speaking

reminding her that she has to do the agreed work to manage her anxiety

setting limits to how long an "anxious conversation" is allowed to go on and not feeling guilty about it

But it is exhausting.

Ledkr Mon 04-Jul-16 14:05:06

Dd is terrible at the moment.
Her very best friend has dumped her for a boy and since then she has struggled to find a true friend.
Every day it's someone has said or done something and it's a big drama.
I try to help her explore why things have happened and what she could do differently next time. She sometimes gets annoyed if I do that so I just keep quiet and sympathise.

HSMMaCM Mon 04-Jul-16 14:30:26

Can she carry a little notebook, so she can write down her anxieties. Would this help her offload, with a little support from you, rather than having to verbalise it all. You can also look at the notes, to check if there's anything serious.

Springermum1350 Mon 04-Jul-16 20:11:27

I only have a son but my friend has a daughter and it is constant. There is always something going on. Girls this, argument that. She is sick of it. So I am thinking it's fairly normal

Dreamfrog Mon 04-Jul-16 23:02:35

I have one of each. The boy became a recluse and the girl became incredibly vocal. I found the girl stage much harder. I was given a tip that helped.
Just agree and don't prolong the conversation.
It's horrid when you feel like you have nothing to wear.
I know how you feel, I had a friend just like that.
I can see why you feel annoyed , let's make a cup of tea.
Etc etc don't fix it just acknowledge the issue then move on from it. It did work sort of.

musicposy Tue 05-Jul-16 23:50:20

I feel your pain.

Two teen DDs here and sometimes I feel I have nothing left to give. The eldest is at full time performing arts school (uni age) and still it's not much better. I speak to her on FaceTime a couple of times a week and it's still x said this to me, y thinks she's better than everyone else, I was friends with z but now she's friends with x and ignoring me. When the hell does it end? DD2 also veers from one drama to another, be it boyfriends, friends, teachers being nasty to her....

As PPs have said, I've learnt not to get too involved. I make sympathetic noises - but not too many or that seems to make it worse. It's pointless to get over invested because a day or two later it will be "oh we're all getting on fine now". I try to stick to a small amount of sympathy followed by changing-of-the-subject.

My sister has a teenage boy. He lives in his room. She moans he never wants to go out or do anything; preferring to live on the computer. She sets eyes on him, I think, about once a month. I have moments where I long to do a swap.

izmoll1 Wed 06-Jul-16 14:36:58

Thanks everyone for your responses - its good to know that we are not alone with this! I am going to try out some of the suggestions - I think getting her a diary to write her worries down in might help and I will try not to 'engage' as much myself. I guess I am still in 'fix it' mode iyswim? As parents we become so accustomed to being the person that sorts things out for our kids and I suppose I still want to be trying to find solutions to her problems, when actually what she wants is just a listening ear and a cuddle!

Ledkr Thu 07-Jul-16 08:50:10

Did is year 9 and this year group seem particularly bad. They all seem to move around friendships but get really angry if the friends they leave behind get friendly with someone else. It's as if they want the old friend to just sit on their own until they want to be friends again!
They have lots to learn.

corythatwas Thu 07-Jul-16 09:18:31

an ear and a cuddle is probably right

I remember becoming a little reluctant to tell my parents anything because they were so serious about it

sometimes it is good just to have somebody recognise your bad mood without listening too closely to what you're saying

at 14 you need to gradually move into the "you are growing up so how do you think you should fix this"

FarAwayHills Thu 14-Jul-16 17:25:39

It is interesting to read different views on this. Im trying hard to be of the listen, sympathise and leave them sort it out camp. I also feel that sometimes parents getting involved with every mini drama seems to just make it worse. I've recently had a mum friend in tears that her DD 13 was not invited to a birthday party - I thought we dealt with this birthday party stuff in Year 1.

I know it's difficult when your child is upset but what I want to do is to give them the tools to cope with the ups and downs of life. They need to realise that sometimes life's not fair, sometimes you don't get invited, sometimes people are mean but these situations are not unique to them and it's ok.

FreeFromHarm Thu 14-Jul-16 17:36:48

Going through the same thing, did 13, was dumped by a so called very good friend and went to a gang of popular girls, the back stabbing and drama is just awful .
My dd is trying to stay clear, I am trying to be empathetic and listen, it has been very difficult, not saying my dad is perfect but this teen girls are wicked, just awful.
I am hoping it improves as she is an excellent student, she cannot trust anyone. No Facebook or Instagram as it has caused so much upset.

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