Breaking up is so hard to do, regardless of your age. When your teen feels the pangs of a love gone wrong, it can devastate them. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a summer fling or their first teenage romance, as it can be an emotionally wrenching experience to get over the pain of a breakup.
The sea of heartache has taken many victims, and you must go there a couple of times in life before you find the right one. As a parent, it’s your job to keep your child together while their world is falling apart. You can turn this into a learning experience to develop coping skills, but you need to avoid things that will only worsen the situation.
Ten Ways to Help Your Child When a Teenage Romance Ends
Parents want to step in and help their children when they’re hurting, but you must use tact so that you don’t make a bigger mess. The key here is to use patience. Your child will learn that time heals all things, but it will make them pretty miserable for a while.
Here are some things you can do to help them through this breakup.
1. Don’t Try to Talk Them Out of Ending the Teenage Romance
It doesn’t matter who called it quits, as it’s still going to hurt. It’s often the case that the person who dares to end things is the one who will struggle the most. It would be best if you stood behind your kid and did not try to talk them out of their decision.
Remember that it’s least said, best said. You don’t want to offer any advice that could come back and bite you.
Let them make their own choices without interjecting your feelings. The only exception to the rule is when they ask for your opinion.
2. Don’t Encourage Them to Escape Their Emotions
Don’t try to say things like “you can do so much better than that person” or “I never liked them anyway.” When you say these things, you’re not being helpful. Another thing you never want to say is, “I told you so.”
It would help if you stayed in the middle of the road, as teens often get back together. If you criticize their love and add insult to injury, you might feel awkward if they reconcile. Teens don’t have hindsight as you do, so they don’t know that their life will go on. Remember that they are learning to manage the pain of losing a partner for the first time.
They must go through the grieving process to sort out what’s happened. The last thing they need is emotional baggage starting at such a young age. According to Dr. Suzanne Lachmann from Psychology Today, there are seven steps to get through a breakup. They are as follows:
- Seeking answers
You can watch as your child goes through each of these stages and encourage them to get to the point of hope.
3. Encourage a Technology Time Out After the Breakup of a Teenage Romance
Parenting in the digital age is not for the faint of heart. It’s natural these days for teens to post their relationship status online and the dirty laundry from the breakup. However, encourage them that this might be a good time to stay off social media.
When they post these relationship updates, it can cause backlash and even shaming. They should never bad-mouth their ex or discuss personal things they confided in them. While most kids lack maturity, it’s an excellent time to learn how to handle a breakup appropriately.
4. Keep Life as Normal as Possible
They’ll need a few days off to grieve and try to keep their sense, but life must go on. Don’t make them breakfast in bed and go above and beyond to do things to baby them. You want them to learn that heartbreak doesn’t mean the world stops turning, and they must keep going.
Breaking up a teenage romance is hard, so spending a little extra time with someone hurting is warranted. However, don’t let them lay in bed, skip school or work, and isolate themselves.
5. Don’t Minimize Your Child’s Emotions
It would help if you stepped into your child’s shoes for a minute to understand them. Don’t try to minimize their pain as you don’t know how they feel. Instead, it would be best if you validated them by saying things like:
- “I know you’re hurting, but you will get better.”
- “It’s so sad when someone you love is gone.”
- “You will get through this, as I have faith in you.”
Avoid saying snide comments or things that minimize their grief, such as:
- “I didn’t think that person was good enough for you anyway.”
- “Most high school romances never work out.”
- “You deserve so much better.”
- “You’re making a bigger deal of this than it is.”
You can’t rationalize your child’s pain away, and sometimes it’s better to say nothing and listen more when it comes to teenage romance.
6. Prepare Them for The Emotional Roller Coaster
Teenage love can cause all sorts of emotions when they part ways. Your kid will cry, get angry, refuse to speak, and may try to self-medicate away the pain. However, it would help prepare yourself and your teen for this emotional roller coaster ride.
One day, they will think that everything is fine and they’re over it, and the next day the grief will hit them like a ton of bricks. This is all a normal part of processing a loss, and it’s going to take some time before their emotions heal.
7. Listen to Them as They Heal From the Loss, Especially if This Was the First Teenage Romance
The mother or father bear inside you will be tempted to fill their ear full of all the things you feel, but you must step back and remember that this isn’t about you. You may have been close to this person and accepted them into the family, but it’s about your child. Teenage romance and breakups are hard enough without you getting in the middle of it.
What your child needs more than anything is for you to listen to them. It’s always better to listen more than you speak and let them vent to you as a trusted mentor.
Parents often get caught up in the drama and want to write the wrong done to their kids, but it’s best to listen and be there. Let them figure the rest out on their own.
8. Know When to Get a Professional Involved
First, love can do a number on your heart, and teenage romance should be something your child can work through without issue. Still, you may find that your child is not bouncing back as they should. In these instances, you must use wisdom and know when to get professional help.
According to Dr. Fredric Neuman from Psychology Today, many times, people going through a breakup will use the threat of “If you leave me, I will kill myself.” However, if your child is the jilted party, you need to know whether this is a threat or a possibility.