background img

Mama Drama: 3rd Anniversary Advice Round Up

It’s October, which means falling leaves, Halloween, and the 3rd Anniversary of our Mama Drama advice column. We’ve rounded up and sorted out the advice over this last year so it’s easy to find what you need. Bookmark it and send it to your mama friends!

(photo credit)

Keep the questions coming ([email protected]) and remember the more we ask, the smarter we get at navigating this amazing journey called Motherhood.

Daily Routines

Ending Morning Madness

Mama Drama: Chilling a Chatterbox

Dear Mama Drama:

My five year old daughter is very bright, very verbal, and very passionate. She is a delight to be around most of the time and has tons of ideas and information to share, but she often struggles to let others have a turn talking in social situations. She gets so excited about what she wants to say that she interrupts or talks over others and then does not understand when they are frustrated with her. Her teachers have also noted this and indicate that it is beginning to have a negative effect on her friendships.

How can I help her learn to be more patient and honor what others have to say?

~Chattered Over Mama

 (photo credit)

Dear Chattered Over:

It is wonderful that you recognize the positives of your daughter’s intellect and enthusiasm. Helping her find the balance between  talking and listening will be an important life skill and will probably be a life long practice for her.

The first step is to raise her awareness about the behavior. A great place to start is a delightful book called My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook. The story describes a little boy, very similar to your daughter, who feels like he is erupting with words and must let them out. Your daughter will hopefully identify with the little boy and begin to recognize how her erupting words impact her relationships. The book also demonstrates ideas to begin quelling the volcano.

Next, help her to notice when she is more prone to the behavior. As you recognize the situations that frequently lead to the overzealous talking, you can pre-plan with her to think about how she can handle these situations differently.

One strategy is to come up with a signal that will cue her to stop talking. When she starts to talk over someone or goes on too long, you give the signal – it can be a gesture, random word or phrase, or a song you start to hum. When the signal is given it is her job to finish her sentence and stop talking. It’s sort of like the music starting to play when the Oscar winners get a bit too long winded. Sharing this strategy with her teacher or other caregivers will also help her to be more successful.

Practice at home. You can practice during dinner conversation, when she’s with her siblings or friends, or do role plays of different scenarios.  During this practice help her notice the body language and facial expressions of those around her when she is listening, talking appropriately, and over talking.  Eventually, these social cues will replace your cues and help her to manage this independently.

Finally, give her time to talk.  Find a time each day when you can really sit and listen to your daughter as she shares the things she is enthusiastic and passionate about. Let her go on and on without interrupting. You can also set a time limit to help her begin to prioritize the things she most wants to tell you.

Motherhood is an amazing journey that can have its share of Mama Drama. The Mama Drama column runs on Fridays with everyday mothering questions from readers and answers providing strategies to tackle these daily challenges. Send your questions and challenges to [email protected], and your Mama Drama could be in next week’s column! Lisa is also available for private consultations. All emails and identifying information will remain confidential. Read more of Lisa’s parenting perspective at her Laughing Yoga Mama blog.

Mama Drama: School Anxiety Support…for Mom

Dear Mama Drama:

I was bullied in school and have a lot of anxiety for my daughter who just started preschool. I worry that the teachers won’t stand up for her and that she’ll be picked on, so I’ve told her to hit anyone who bothers or hurts her.

Her teachers say that she will end up in trouble instead. How can I help her stand up for herself if she can’t hit?

~Scared Mama

 (photo credit)

Dear Scared:

Bullying is a real problem, but you can empower your daughter to stand up for herself without teaching her to hurt others.

Our experiences growing up have a big impact on how we view school for our children. It is easy to project these onto our children, but is more important to support them in creating a positive outlook about school so their experience can be better than ours.

Hitting it not a socially acceptable behavior and if used as a first response will lead to a great deal of difficulty for your daughter. Children who hit are often ostracized in school, as other students don’t feel safe playing with them. They are also more likely to have consequences that lead them to miss class time and learning opportunities.

Talk with your daughter’s teachers about your concerns and the reasons for them. Ask them about how they monitor the class, handle problems between students, and teach social skills. Knowing their strategies should help ease some of your fears.

Encourage your daughter to see the positives in school and in her classmates. Model noticing safe and friendly choices and ask her about the things she enjoyed in school each day. Make sure you are looking for the positives as well and not being critical or overreacting to typical interactions that happen in preschool. When you have questions or concerns, try to share those with the teachers out of earshot of your daughter.

Find resources to teach your daughter pro-social skills for problem solving and making friends.  The Mama Drama column on Bully Busting Basics describes skills to teach and books to read with your daughter.

The bottom line is that you don’t want other kids hitting and bullying your daughter and other parents don’t want their children hit or bullied either.  Teach your daughter to be strong in her social skills, rather than to be afraid that others will hurt her.

If you still feel overwhelmed by anxiety, seek professional mental health support to help you work through these issues.

Motherhood is an amazing journey that can have its share of Mama Drama. The Mama Drama column runs on Fridays with everyday mothering questions from readers and answers providing strategies to tackle these daily challenges. Send your questions and challenges to [email protected], and your Mama Drama could be in next week’s column! Lisa is also available for private consultations. All emails and identifying information will remain confidential.

Mama Drama: Sibling Rivalry and Playtime Struggles

Dear Mama Drama,

I recently took my 6 and 8 year old daughters to a pumpkin carving contest. It is a wonderful family event that focuses more on community than competition, but the pumpkins are judged and there are winners. My 6 year old won and my 8 year old did not.  At first, the 8 year old was very supportive of her sister, but then she started crying. When we finally got to the root of the problem, she was upset that she had given her sister ideas and that her sister had won and she didn’t.

This sibling competition expresses itself frequently in negative ways in our family and I am unsure how to react or what to do about it.  Growing up most of my life as an only child, I really don’t understand and am not very sympathetic to sibling rivalry.

How can I encourage my children to be loving supportive sisters and discourage them from being self-centered and competitive?

~Seeking Harmony

Dear Seeking Harmony:

Sibling rivalry is a normal part of growing up with brothers and sisters, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have that harmony you are seeking.