Girls, especially teens and preteens, typically belong to social circles. When a group of close-knit female friends or classmates spends time together, drama and disagreements are bound to surface. When your daughter’s involved in girl drama, support her in an accepting, non-reactive way, recommends Dr. Kate Roberts, licensed clinical psychologist in Salem and Hamilton, Massachusetts. Take steps to help her keep things in perspective when the drama gets out of control.
Listen and validate your daughter’s feelings, even if you think it’s just a lot of drama. It’s real to her. If the drama’s happening at school, your daughter should feel free to express herself at home so she’ll be more contained and less vulnerable at school, Roberts says.
Keep an open dialogue with your daughter. This will encourage and nurture healthy relationships with girlfriends, according to Alyssa Slansky, marriage and family therapist in Huntington Station, New York. Set aside time each day to talk with your daughter about her day. When problems arise, ask what she wants to do instead of giving her advice right away.
Role-play situations that could arise with your daughter and her friends. “How would you react if you found out Susan was planning to go out with your ex-boyfriend?” Give her the tools to deal with these situations prior to them actually happening, recommends Slansky.
Incorporate uncompromised family time. Even though your daughter might not express it, she needs time with her parents to buffer against the dramatic issues that erupt with friends. Along with family involvement comes the potential for community and church involvement as well, Roberts says. These connections help put less emphasis on school friendships.
Encourage your daughter to pursue various outlets. Start this precedent when she is young. Expose her to various groups of peers. She could join a soccer team, a tennis club or a community play group. Any group that takes up an important emotional place in a girl’s life allows perspective on in-school and other friendships.
Allow your daughter to make her own choices and give her freedom when it’s appropriate, suggests Slansky. Involvement in extra-curricular activities will also build self-esteem. As a result, she can brush off peer-related drama, and she’ll find it easier to stand her ground when situations arise.
Set a disconnect time for social forums. Teens and preteens have access to their friends 24 hours a day. If your daughter doesn’t disconnect from technology, these social media sites will allow issues that start during the day to continue into home life. Turn off access to technology at a certain time each day and enforce the curfew, recommends Slansky. You will be forcing a much-needed break.
Act as a role model for your daughter. She should observe your independence and self-reliance when it comes to other people’s perceptions and judgments of you. If she sees that you are able to navigate through female drama, she’ll pick up on that, says Roberts.
Some girls develop a longstanding pattern of being drawn to drama. In this case, if your daughter isn’t open to getting help from you, consult a professional.