5 Ways To Help Your Teenager Deal With A Breakup
By Tyler Jacobson
Teen romances can be intense, short-lived experiences. One minute your teen is soaring on the wings of love, the next they’re crashing back to earth.
Whether it went on for a few months or ended after some weeks, the end of a relationship can be brutal for a teenager who’s just started learning how to deal with their emotions. There will be tears, moping, hunger strikes and blasting of angry music.
While all this might be a little hard to take, it presents an opportunity to teach your teen how to handle pain, disappointment, and rejection and how to forgive and move on with their lives. Handled correctly, your teen might emerge as a wiser, more resilient person.
They will need lots of help from you though. Here’s what you can do:
Validate their emotions.
Invalidating your teen’s feelings by saying things like ‘teen romances don’t work out’ will just make them feel worse. Instead, try validating their feelings. Statements like ‘I know how sad this is…’ express empathy and understanding and are a much more positive way of dealing with breakups.
Be a good listener.
After a breakup, teens experience a whirlwind of emotions. Help yours sort through them by being a good listener and providing a shoulder to cry on. Give them space to vent, talk and cry. Encourage them to open up to you but don’t nag them if they choose not to.
Find the middle ground.
As a parent, you have the benefit of hindsight so you know that things will get better. Unfortunately, your teen doesn’t know this so it’s up to you to inspire hope for the future. At the same time, encourage them to express and work through their feelings rather than bottling them up.
Encourage a return to their daily routine.
After your teen has wallowed in self-pity, anger, and disappointment for a few days, start ushering them to resume their daily routine. The everyday normalcy of chores, homework, family and co-curricular activities can provide a much-needed balm to soothe an aching heart. If nothing else, it will distract them from their problems, reminding them that life does go on, with or without a boyfriend or girlfriend.
Seek further help when necessary.
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your teen might not open up to you. Other times, the moping and mourning period might stretch on longer than expected. If your teen is having trouble getting over the breakup and they’re withdrawn or showing other signs of depression, it’s time to seek professional help.
Helping a teen through a breakup calls for a great deal of patience and understanding. Over time, they’ll eventually get over it and be thankful for your help.