New romances can be thrilling but the aftermath of a breakup can leave even the most reasonable person devastated. Teenagers are especially susceptible to the high emotions and drama of a breakup. When teenagers are dealing with their broken heart, it can feel even more intense to them because they don’t have as much life experience as adults to give them a realistic perspective.
Teens that are in the middle of having their first real relationship end are going to need their parents for support. While they will get sympathy from their friends, only parents can provide heartbroken teens the wisdom and experienced perspective they need to help them move forward in a healthy and happier manner. As a parent, you can help minimize the impact of a broken heart on your teenager’s life by following these 4 steps.
1. Be there to listen.
The impact of a breakup is incredibly painful right at first, and teenagers may just need to vent their motions for a while. As upsetting as a breakup is, you know that sharing the old clichés about “time healing all wounds” and “plenty of fish in the sea” won’t have any impact right now against the raw pain your teen is feeling. Simply be available to listen, validate their feelings and build up communication and trust between you.
2. Never diminish or belittle the relationship.
While your teen may look back someday at the breakup with the perspective of an adult, that day is not today. Right now, your teenager’s broken heart is the biggest problem ever and their relationship was one of the most important things in their lives thus far. Avoid making disparaging remarks about the relationship as just a “teen crush” or even saying bad things about the ex, right now. Support your teen in what they are saying and never place judgement on what they have gone through.
3. Show extra love.
Your teenager is feeling serious rejection right now, as well as the sting of being judged. He or she is probably dealing with low self-esteem and wondering what’s wrong with them. As a parent, you can support your teenager by extending extra love to them. It doesn’t have to be in significant gestures, but more like special things that really show you understand what they are going through. A movie night, special dessert or something else that helps them feel loved is all it takes.
4. Seek out life lessons.
In every relationship, there are lessons to be learned and insights to be gained. As you talk with your teenager, identify some important life lessons that can affect their attitude about what happened. However, avoid preaching or lecturing. Instead, gently guide them to making their own realizations on how they can help themselves get over their heartbreak. As they learn how to develop coping skills to deal with rejection, anguish and shattered dreams, they will be better prepared to encounter these things in the future.
There are many times in a parent’s life where you wish you could take away the pain your child is feeling. However hard it may be to watch your teen suffer from heartbreak, ultimately going through this emotional trauma is a good thing, and you’ll be proud to see them coming out the other side as a stronger person.
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