From the moment my daughter was born, I knew I was in for a test! She was, indeed, high-maintenance. Payback, anyone? Someone once told me that the word DIAPER spelled backward is Re-PAID! I now know and appreciate what my mother must have gone through. So, if you are the parent of a little drama queen, here are a few tips from my personal files that will help you get through some of more challenging moments.
Never say “NO” to a reasonable request
By that, I mean, if she is asking (or whining, crying, or throwing a tantrum) for an ice cream, but it happens to be before dinner, simply answer, “Yes, of COURSE you can have an ice cream! As soon as you have your dinner.” or “Yes! This weekend, we are all planning to go to Dairy Queen as a family outing!” The same goes for asking for a toy she just saw on TV. You can always respond, “YES! Of COURSE you may have that toy! We will certainly consider it on your next birthday!” It is very difficult for a child to persist when you are answering positively, even if you don’t mean yes until a later time or date.
Let your child know that you know why she is upset
If your daughter starts to throw an inappropriate, out-of-control response to something, simply get down to eye level and say, “Honey, are you upset because your baby brother ripped up the picture you drew the other day?” (or whatever else you know she is upset about). Generally speaking, once they know that YOU know why they are upset, they feel a lot better! Take a few moments to have a private chat about it, perhaps hold her on a rocking chair and let her cry it out for a few minutes, always being sympathetic to her plight, no matter how small or inconsequential it may seem to you. To her, it’s the biggest game in town, so treat it as such and you will have great results!
Don’t make a big deal out of inappropriate words
For example, if your little precocious one comes home from school lifting up her shirt saying, “I’m SEXY!” don’t get mad or upset. They are going to hear these words far earlier than you’d like them to. There are a lot of Jenny Picolos around and your DD will be growing up fast. Say something like, “Someday you are going to be VERY sexy and when you get married, that’s going to come in handy! However, since you are still a little girl, there are better words to describe how pretty and smart you are!” And then, quickly change the subject and see if she’d like to bake some cookies or help you fold the laundry.