Angry Like You Dad
Credit: Hibab, Fady. Angry Like you Dad. 2005.

Who ever said that girls are full of "sugar and spice and everything nice" must not have had their own daughters to raise. For mothers like me who are raising girls who are every bit as dramatic and stubborned as we were when we were little, dealing with the drama is not always easy. But if you can remain calm despite the crisis -- whatever it might be -- then you can raise your girls to be the pleasant young women that you know they are. 

Remember She's Learning

There is a lot to take in in this world, including the best way to deal with emotions. If your daughter notoriously flips out at the drop of a hat, then it's important to remember that she is sorting through the powerful emotions she is experiencing. She may be disappointed that she didn't get to unlock the car door or that she has to share her things with her little sister and she's working through the best ways to deal with that frustration.  

The best thing you can do for her at this point is to put yourself in her shoes. Tell her that you understand her disappointment and want to help. Perhaps you can try to make a compromise with her so that the next time an issue arises, everyone will have a clear understanding of the expectations. If everyone knows what to expect (including yourself), then the situation will dissipate before the bomb can explode.

Don't Fall in the Trap

It's easy to get sucked into a drama fest when you can't get through to your child. Just like her, we get frustrated when things don't go as easily as we would like, but if you start screaming, crying or flailing around, she will learn that these dramatic episodes are natural (and perhaps even effective). Instead, stay calm and collected.  

Talk to your daughter in a normal, quiet voice which will either force her to stop and listen or at least give her an example of positive communication. But most importantly, remember to listen to the reasons she's feeling so upset and seek clarification often. By confirming her frustrations, you are validating her emotions without giving into them, and by staying calm, you are showing her that it is okay to be upset without flying off the handle.

Leave if You Must

If your daughter is especially prone to throwing intense fits over her frustrations, sometimes the best thing you can do as a parent is to step away for a while. This will not only give you the chance to gather your thoughts, but will show your daughter that it is okay to remove yourself from an uncomfortable situation. 

 Take a few minutes to yourself before approaching your daughter again. If she is still overly upset, insist that she do the same as you and leave for a bit. You can suggest a warm bath until she is able to talk or, if she is excessively angry, offer her a pillow or snow globe to take out her aggression out on. The point is to give her an outlet through which to channel her anger that is not destructive.  

Disappointment is a natural part of life. Learning how to communicate disappointment is not. Give your child the right resources through which to deal with life's little set-backs to help provide her with the tools she needs to succeed. You will also spare some of your own insanity along the way. This is what we call a win-win.