One of the most pervasive problems facing youth today is how they can prevent and/or avoid drama. One reason this is such a difficult problem for them is technology allows any kid with even a mild amount of impulsivity to put that impulsivity on technological steroids. Today, because there are so many communication mechanisms in their hand almost all of the time, whenever something dramatic happens, it is easier for them – than it has been for any kid historically – to either create or contribute to drama.
With the children I work with on a daily basis, it has become commonplace for me to go over a set of ground rules they should use to avoid drama. Adolescence is already a stormy time replete with intense moments on almost a daily basis making that adolescent feel like their current crisis is the one that is the biggest thing that has ever happened to them.
Even “good kids” put themselves in really bad situations when they impulsively use technology to create or contribute to drama. I have found the below list to be very useful in helping adolescents understand what the appropriate ground rules are to avoid drama.
Avoiding Drama Ground Rules
-Even when I can be mean, or gossipy, I will choose to be kind.
-I will use appropriate language when texting.
-If I lose my temper, I will step back and assess the situation in a different way.
-I agree to be very careful with what words I use and will avoid words that are hurtful, demeaning, aggressive, explosive, or that could be misinterpreted.
-I agree to not spread around rumors even if the rumor is really interesting or positive information. I know I need to practice not passing on information about other people.
-I will practice not talking about people who are not present and focus more on talking about and with the people who are actually with me at any given moment.
-I agree to not be inappropriate or flirtatious because this stirs up rumors and jealousies.
-I will not look down on people or join in the making fun of people.
-Whenever I’m upset about something, or even irritated, I will not send the text out. I will make sure and wait until I am completely calm before I send out a text. I understand that I may need to wait a full day or even longer to send out a text. I understand that if I’m not sure if I should send a text, I will consult a responsible person before sending a text.
-I will not show other people text conversations.
-I will not post any of my problems publicly nor will I reveal intimate or private information to people.
-I will not make rude remarks or drama-creating comments on other people’s posts. I know that I can think those things in my head but I do not need to say them or distribute them to others.
-If get overwhelmed, I will not text. I will turn my phone off and do something relaxing.