Adolescence is a time when teen relationships develop quickly and unfortunately may end just as abruptly as they started. Your teen who was once walking on air and constantly talking or texting their “bae” on the cell phone is now sulking in their room. What is a parent to do when they see their precious child suffer from adult-like emotions and heartache?
Teenage break ups are extremely stressful and emotional not only for the teen but also for you as a parent. The feelings that your teen is experiencing are real and intense and may at times feel overwhelming. The best thing that a parent could do is quietly listen to your teen share their feelings and thoughts. This is a time for your teen to talk about what’s going on and not a time for you to share your break up stories or give advice. Teens generally don’t want to hear it, but they do want the comfort of a parents’ unconditional love.
It’s important that parents model how to deal with negative emotions appropriately and allow their teen the time to process their feelings without having to move on before they are ready. Be cautious before you talk badly about the “other” person. Inappropriate comments can hurt other people, reflect badly on the one who says these things, plus you never know if your child may get back together with their girlfriend/boyfriend and you end of looking like the bad guy. Instead, focus on listening and being present.
It’s ok for your child to have some down time in their room alone. They need time to process these negative feelings and grieve that the relationship is over. If the child becomes isolated and depressed for an extended period of time please seek professional help as need. It is helpful to encourage your child to talk with their close friends for support and participate in activities that they love to do. Encourage your child not to discuss their relationship on social media and even take a “time out” from digital technology. Even if they are not sharing “their side of the story” others may be say hurtful comments which only makes the breakup even more painful.
Even though break ups are painful they are one way that life teaches humans how to persevere through difficult emotions and situations. Teens learn that life can be unfair and disappointing, but given some time to reflect and heal your teen will learn some valuable lessons about themselves and the art of forgiving others.