She's demanding. She's self-absorbed. She's moody. And she's your daughter. But even though you can't control how your daughter behaves, there are things you can do to help her channel her "inner diva" in a more positive direction.
Every diva is different. So, take a step back and look at your daughter. Really look at her. When you pinpoint the things that motivate her diva behavior, you'll be able to understand which of these three scenarios applies to your little prima donna.
Some diva-like behavior is developmental and is usually caused by your daughter's need to test boundaries. This type of diva is motivated by attention or thrills. She may even feel misunderstood or may not feel that she belongs.
For this diva, make sure you spend at least 10 minutes each day one-on-one with her (more time if you can manage it). Empower her by giving her options about what she'd like to do with you. Together, you can paint nails, look for songs to download on her iPod or make cookies. In addition, supply her with healthy attention-getting outlets such as theater, choir or dance.
Diva on overload
Another type of diva is the overstimulated diva. This diva's behavior happens when she is overstimulated by sights, sounds or life experiences.
Her behavior is based on unmet needs, and she will she struggle unlearning her diva behaviors until her needs are met.
If your daughter seems overwhelmed by social situations (e.g. school, church, play dates), schedule buffer time between activities so she can refuel and have the quiet time she needs. There may even be a clinical root beneath her behaviors such as depression, ADHD or a sensory disorder. Consult with your child's doctor if structured refueling time doesn't help this diva.
This diva behavior happens with daughters who always have to know "what's going to happen next" and who require more structure in their lives.
For this diva, consider creating a family responsibility chart. Post the chart where everyone can see it, and be sure to include all your kids in the decision-making process as you assign tasks.
Once you've identified your diva, define your boundaries
Sometimes diva behavior happens because we haven't definedour boundaries. In other words, we let our kids use us. If your diva wants something, she can get it herself. If your diva wants to buy something, she can save up and buy it (just make sure she has the tools — ways of making money — to do so). You don't have to do everything for your daughter. She won't love you more because you do things for her.
As you go about setting boundaries with your daughter, try using "pre-announced ignoring." This works great with divas who speak to parents in tones that make us feel uncomfortable. Say something like, “I'll be happy to listen to you when you ask me kindly.”
Remember, while you may not want to make a big deal about some of your daughter's behaviors, maintaining positive relationships is a lifelong skill that will impact your daughter's ability to find and keep jobs, make good friends and attract an awesome husband.
When all is said and done, love your daughter. Speak kind words and focus on her strengths.
Heather Merrill is a single mom, writer and eyewitness to play-date debacles.