It’s bound to happen: your teen will eventually suffer through their first breakup. Being prepared will make it easier not only on you, but also on your teen. Breakups can be tough, no matter how amicable. And when you’re a teenager? Yikes! These tips will help you to be there when your teen needs you most.
Listen without judgment. Don’t try to offer solutions or platitudes, just listen and tell them you love them. Let them know you are sorry for their pain. In the initial days and weeks post breakup, try not to judge their actions (unless they’re particularly destructive). Once the initial pain has subsided, you can offer some constructive criticism that might help them to better cope with future relationships.
Keep a lid on it. As much as you may be angry about how the girl or boy treated your teen, now is not the time to call them names or say you are glad the relationship is over. Allow your child the chance to mourn and come to those conclusions on their own. Let your reactions only be sympathy and encouragement for your child.
Distract! Sometimes skipping a day of school and binge eating ice cream, going to a local theme park, or window shopping is just what the doctor ordered. Offer to take your teen out for a special day to distract and help them get past the initial pain. If they decline, let them know the offer stands and allow them to deal with the pain in their own way.
Allow them to mourn the loss. Don’t rush them back into being happy and cheerful. Allow them the chance to process their own feelings. Encourage them to behave as an adult would with proper responses and a good attitude, but behind closed doors let them know it is okay to cry, be sad, and feel let down.
But don’t let them linger over the loss. Be careful about how they are dealing with the loss. Don’t allow them to linger for weeks and months on end. If you’re not getting through, don’t be afraid to engage a counselor. Sometimes an objective third party is just what is needed to kick them into gear and keep their focus on the positive things in life.
These tips for helping your teen through their first breakup will help you both navigate this strange new territory with ease.