Trouble in Paradise: Helping Your Teen Through a Break-Up

A7_June_PTM_broken heartLosing one’s first love is a difficult and heart-wrenching time. The pain and heartache of a breakup stays with a person throughout their lives, so parents of teenagers still remember exactly what their children are going through when they breakup with their girlfriend or boyfriend. Parents often wonder what they can do to help their distraught teenagers cope with the breakup of a romantic relationship. There are many different things that a parent can do in order to help their teen through a breakup.

Listen, Don’t Talk

If you are lucky enough that your teenager feels comfortable opening up to you about what they are going through, be careful. Be sure to listen twice as long as you talk. You may think this is a great opportunity to talk about your first breakup or introduce some words of wisdom about relationships, but now is not the time. Let your teen express his or her emotions and be an open and non-judgmental listener.

Don’t Minimize Their Feelings

As a parent, you know that your child will find a new boyfriend or girlfriend and that everything will be okay. However, when the breakup is still fresh, this information is not helpful or comforting. In fact, it minimizes the emotions that your child is currently experiencing. As parent, be sure to validate their feelings and let them know that it is normal to be sad, angry, and depressed over the loss of love.

Remain Neutral

This is an important point, especially if you were never really a fan of your teen’s significant other. As a parent, you must remain neutral. This can be difficult if the ex hurt your child in some way, or if your child is particularly angry or heartbroken about the situation. However, it is best to remain neutral throughout your discussions. Saying things such as, “I never liked her anyway,” can be damaging to your relationship with your child, particularly if the couple decides to get back together.

Encourage Your Teen

Heartbreak is difficult to overcome. Your teen will likely want to spend a lot of time alone, mourning the loss of the relationship. This is normal and healthy, for a time. As a parent, it is your job to keep a close eye on your child. Allow them to deal with their grief, but be careful not to let it linger for too long. Encourage your teen to spend time with friends, participate in their favorite activities, or even find a new hobby to help fill their time.

Let Them Know that Good Things Will Come

Once your teen has had time to express his or her emotions about the breakup, take some time to give your son or daughter some hope. Share some stories about your teenage years, your relationships, and your own breakups. Let them know that new relationships will come along, and will end, and it is a normal part of life. Remind them to always look for the good in people and friendships. Their next love may come from a surprising place.

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