The Culture Calls it "Drama"
December 16, 2014 - Category: life
Haven’t we all heard or said, “It’s just a bunch of drama going on” in our kids’ schools or with their friends? Is it just a bunch of drama? Or is it something more sinister and destructive? Parents need to understand what’s really happening in order to help their kids through the mess.
Recently, while we were interviewing a counselor friend Tina Johnston* who works with teens, adolescents and their families, we were overwhelmed by what we heard about the deep and lasting effects of this thing we have labeled as “drama”. Tina told us that the lack of loyalty among teens because of drama may lead to lack of trust, fear of rejection or acceptance and leads to anger, depression, self hatred and much more.
Drama plagues not only middle and high school students but is also beginning to be a real problem in elementary grades as well. Tina explains, “This drama is destroying the self-images and self worth of many our children, which will effect future relationships ... and families in the future.”
So what is drama? Take a look at how it is defined by these two sources.
Merriam Webster offers one definition that sheds a bit of light on why this school phenomenon is called such; a state, situation, or series of events involving interesting or intense conflict of forces. Even Merriam Webster see’s the conflict of forces.
To gain a more colloquial definition, we turn to the online service “Urban Dictionary”, a crowd sourced online dictionary of slang words and phrases, to acquire how the participators themselves define this problem; A way of relating to the world in which a person consistently overreacts to or greatly exaggerates the importance of benign events. Or in another entry; Drama is when people cause unnecessary hardships in others lives just for amusement... or because they are stupid and there(sic) personalities are seriously lacking(sic).
So can we write this off as just something the “kids just go through and they will get over it?” After listening to our friend Tina and talking to a group of kids there may be something here we need seriously deal with or at least pay close attention to for the sake of our children.
Here’s what one group of kids said about what this “drama” is to them.
Listening to these kids it made the movie “Mean Girls” sound like amateur hour.
Our daughter Cori reminded us this is partially why she did not return to her junior year and decided to homeschool herself. She said she couldn’t stand to watch how people could intentionally hurt each other so deeply.
Drama is absolutely devastating our culture according to Tina: "Many young people self-medicate in a variety of ways, including self-harm, sex, and drugs. They may even contemplate suicide as an escape from stress and pressure. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among teens and preteens. Suicidal ideation is serious and needs to be addressed by a professional".
Ok, some of you might be saying, tell me something I don’t know. The fact is that this is not really drama at all, it’s something much more sinister. Maybe it’s something the enemy is using to hurt our kids and their future relationships. What we can say and will say about this “drama” is that it’s intent and its effects are not of God and cannot be dealt with effectively without real truth. Dismissing this is what the enemy wants you to do. Parents-- don’t believe the lie that its just normal and will simply go away.
Identify whether your children are affected by this “drama” and be intentional about addressing the issues. Their perceived definitions and its affect on them is their reality of the problem. Ask them what this “drama” means to them, if they feel affected by it and how they deal with drama when they see it.
Parents and teens must realize they have options; they don’t have to stay in bad environments where drama exists and is harmful. The truth of this behavior is that it’s not really drama at all. It is wrong and unacceptable and, parents need to be prepared to deal with the root of the problem instead of simply speaking to the symptoms.
Teens who endorse drama and the behavior that magnifies benign events and demoralizes those around them need to understand the lies they are perpetuating will eventually devour their own self-image and worth. Those who feel they have fallen victim to the dramatic must understand the reality of this foe.
We have researched the phenomenon from a spiritual perspective and are prepared to share the conclusions. Are you prepared for the truth? Stay tuned; our next blog will tackle the spirit of drama head on and with no apology. For now, pray, prepare, and prompt your children to share how they have been affected by drama whether they are 9, 19, or 29; they have a story to share. Listen to them. Consider what they say, you may be surprised.
NCC, LPC, EVGP, GCDF, MCC
Psychotherapist and Career
NewStarts Counseling and Education Services, PLLC