Parenting teens can be really hard. Not only are there all the emotions to contend with but life does get more complicated the older you get and when you add a first love in the mix!
Most of us can remember how painfully sad we felt after our first breakup. I know I certainly didn’t take it well and went to pieces with my mum and step-dad unhelpfully telling me it wasn’t real love and there was plenty more fish in the sea. Looking back they were right, but it certainly doesn’t feel like that at the time as when you’re a teenager or young adult you just don’t have the life experience to know that these things happen to everyone and you can and will get through it.
So how do you help your teen deal with a breakup?
It’s really important that you listen. The feelings they have are very real and can be all-consuming and they need time get through it and deal with the emotions they are not familiar with. What they need now is unconditional love, someone to talk to who will listen and respect how they feel and probably a great big hug!
If you don’t make yourself available they may put their heart in the hands of friends and sometimes that is not the best action especially these days with the explosion of social media. I have lost count of the amount of meltdowns I have seen on Facebook and twitter by heartbroken youngsters and it is all about bashing the other party. There is also the temptation of friends to take them out and drown their sorrows, which can lead to a whole host of other issues, although many teens can be thoughtful and supportive and will make every effort to help their friend feel better about the situation.
As a parent you can help your teen identify their feelings and help them find constructive ways to express them. Humiliation, anger, and sadness are strong emotions. Even as adults we still have trouble keeping those in check, so imagine how hard it is for an adolescent.
Sadly a break-up is something that almost everyone will have to deal with at some point and, as parents, it is so hard to not try to make everything better. It is important to let your teen work something out for themselves when pain and heartache are involved and just be supportive.
I for one will be encouraging my teen to get out and about and have fun with old and new friends, doing the things he used to enjoy pre-relationship and enjoying some time with his siblings who have the ability to give the best cuddles and make you laugh with their crazy antics!
Have you had to help your teen get through a break-up. Do you have any advice?