Building Block #1: A Scale aka Drama-mometer
On my fortieth birthday, I had a kidney stone. Forty was not the new thirty for me. It was miserable . . . blew my “stubbed toe might be the most significant pain” theory right out of the water... Since then, I’ve heard from many women that one teeny kidney stone causes more pain than natural childbirth. I now have a new understanding of those little scales they hang up in the ER. You’ve seen them. They’re numbered 1–10 and have a little happy face on the left side at 1 . . . and a miserable face at 10 on the right. I wish every home had a similar pain assessment tool for girls.
With the lack of perspective among girls, many girls of all ages live at 10. Whether it’s anger, sadness, fear, or even embarrassment, they feel it soooo much. In fact, I’ve talked about this idea in so many parenting seminars, I’ve coined a term for a scale for girls. I call it a “Drama-mometer.”
I introduce this idea to a lot of girls in my offices. I have them talk about whatever emotion they seem to be experiencing the most . . . whether it’s anger, sadness, or fear. If it’s fear, for example, I have them tell me the scariest thing they could imagine happening to them. Many young girls tell me it’s something bad happening to their mom or dad. We name that a 10. From there, they immediately have a little more perspective. Then, they name a variety of situations that could cause different numbers on the scale. Missing homework might be a 3. A friend who is ignoring her might be a 6. You get the picture.
If your daughter is struggling with living in the world of 10s, or even 10+!!!!!s, give her a scale. At a time when she’s calm, talk about the scariest—or saddest—or most frustrating thing she can imagine. Name that a 10. Then, when she gets in the car after school, go back to her scale. Listen first, so that she knows her feelings are important to you. Hear her. Validate her. And then help her put her pain—or fear—into perspective. Ask her what number that situation is and what she can do to deal with the situation. We want to validate rather than escalate the all-encompassing emotion some girls feel.
And grab a copy of Are My Kids on Track for more building blocks on girls and perspective!