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Drama Class is Full of Drama

Simone loves her "Lion King" drama class...except when she's in tears. Oh, beloved child, you weren't supposed to take the "diva" moniker seriously...

First meltdown -- and I mean the biggest emotional breakdown I have ever seen from this child, lasting for a good portion of an entire evening, most of the time spent in wracked sobs -- came when she learned that her speaking lines were spoken as a hyena, not a cheetah.

We had a long talk in which we acknowledged and validated her feelings, and then pointed out she got to be a cheetah in the first and last scenes, and then talking up the coolness of hyenas (not a hard thing to do as far as I'm concerned!). It worked, she went to bed happy, she went to class the next week happy too.

Today, she is in tears because she doesn't want to be Ed. She wants to be a different hyena. She basically sat out class today because of this. We are going to suggest that the teacher switch two characters' names (but let the kids keep their lines as-is), but I also sat down and had a talk about shows as community endeavors and sometimes you do what's best for the community rather than what's just best for yourself. Which I think was actually a true and valuable thing rather than an improvisational rationalization.


I never know, in those situations, how much to advocate for Stanley getting what he wants and feeling seen/heard/validated about his concerns or upsets and how much to say "sorry, lovechop, this is how it is. Let's figure out how to be okay with it."
To elaborate a little, a day later: I try to do both as much as possible. That is, to always make room first for the big feelings to be felt and expressed, and to spend generous amounts of time there before moving on. I don't offer to fix it. I don't offer solutions. And I don't say anything about how some things can't be changed. I just reflect emotions: "You really want to be a cheetah, don't you. Cheetahs are your favorite, I know. You're frustrated and sad. I see that." After that, we move onto the solution phase. Which might be "how do we figure out how to be OK with this" and might be "how do we advocate for you," and that's *definitely* a hard balance to strike. b/c I am a big ol' tigerbear of a parent and I want to eat all opposition. But it's easier to do once the emotions have run their course somewhat -- once my kid feels heard and taken seriously and knows that I am in their corner even if I cannot do anything to change things (as in this case).
Thank you, mom.
Simone says, btw, that she likes her teacher and she was really nice to her while she sat and watched.

Edited at 2013-05-22 07:31 pm (UTC)
Reading this whole exchange really, really warms my heart and makes me happy. You are such good parents.