How to Help Your Teen Get Over a Break-up
Being a teenager is tough. The transition into adulthood creates new experiences and feelings that may be difficult for a teen to cope with. Relationship break-ups can be one of the most emotionally challenging periods for teens because they do not have a lifetime of experience to reflect upon. As a parent, you can’t change the situation or make the heartache go away, but you can soften the blow and support your teen. Here are some tips to help you ease your teenager’s pain.
Don’t be pushy.
Whether your teen has told you directly about the break-up, or you’ve discovered the bad news from another source, don’t push your teen into a retelling of all the intimate details. Put your overprotective nature to one side and give your teen space to process what has happened to them. Your teen will feel agitated and upset if you hassle them for facts. Allow him or her to talk to you in their own time. You’ll find it much easier to provide to support to your teen if they have come to you willingly.
Let them know that you’re there for them.
When you learn about your teen’s break-up, you can still let them know that you are there for them without having to grill them. Say to your teen, ‘Break-ups are really difficult. If you ever want to talk about things, I’m always here for you.’ It’s important that you keep to your promise too. If your teen approaches you and it feels like they want to talk about their break-up, drop what you’re doing and give him or her your full attention. If you say, ‘We’ll talk when I’ve finished cleaning the bathroom’ or start talking and cut the conversation off early, your teenager will only feel that their parent has rejected them in the same way that their boyfriend or girlfriend did.
Don’t compare the situation to yourself.
When your teen is ready to talk, choose your words wisely. Don’t be judgemental, don’t belittle their feelings and don’t offer up examples of how you had your heart broken at their age. Hearing stories about your relationships as a teenager will not ease your teen’s pain and will only focus the conversation on you rather than your child. If you do want to reassure your teenager that they will fall in love again, talk about a recent case. Has your brother or sister found love again following divorce? Does your teen have a friend who went through a difficult break-up but later dated an even better guy or girl? Such examples will feel more relatable and relevant.
Keep your teen busy.
It’s healthy to grieve for a lost relationship, but a break-up is also an opportunity to reconnect with your teen. Is there one place that your son or daughter has always wanted to go to, or an activity they’ve wanted to try out? Now is the occasion to excite your teen about something again. Even if you go to the mall or to see a movie together, getting out of the house will allow your teen to forget about their worries for a while.
Let your teen’s friends be a source of support.
Although you are a great source of support for your son or daughter, you cannot meet their every emotional need. Your teen needs reconnect with their friends and spend time talking about the break-up. If you normally limit the time your teen spends chatting to friends on the phone, or how often they can stay over at friends’ houses, loosen your restrictions during this difficult period. Your teen will be grateful for your understanding and appreciation for how important their friendships are.
At some time every parent will have the opportunity, and the need, to support their teenager through a relationship break-up. It is one of the great obstacles on the road to adulthood. Show what a great and sympathetic mom or dad you are by following these tips.