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 several times 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 to avoid making a bigger mess. The key here is to use patience. Your child will learn that time heals everything, but it will make them pretty miserable.
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 will still 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 to stand behind your kid and 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 their lives 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 a young age. According to Dr. Suzanne Lachmann, there are seven steps to get through a breakup. They are as follows:
- Seeking answers
You can watch as your child goes through each stage 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 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.
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 will 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. Listening more than speaking is always better than letting 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.
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 must know whether this is a threat or a possibility.
Using such statements, whether as a threat or intent, shows unhealthy attachments and poor coping skills. This child needs professional intervention. Do not hesitate call #988 for suicide prevention resources.
9. Keep Your Feelings Out of This
Why is it so hard for parents to recall that this isn’t their breakup? You get all involved in the situation because you want to protect your kid. What if a young person who jilted your daughter was jilted was always hanging out at your home? You might also feel some attachment.
It’s only natural for you to have some feelings toward this guy. However, it would help if you remembered that teenage romance is a rocky road, and you don’t want to put your feelings on your kid to make anything worse. Throughout all this, your goal is to help your teenager boost their confidence so they can come out on the other side stronger.
10. Distract Them from the Loss of This Teenage Romance
Remember when your kid was little, and you had to distract and divert their attention from something terrible to something good? Well, you would think that you outgrow these parenting hacks, but alas, you must continue to do this throughout their life. A little distraction can get your kid’s mind off their first love and onto something else.
Take them out for dinner and a movie, or why not hit the mall for some shopping? The goal is to get them involved in an activity that will prevent wallowing and show them that life goes on.
Final Thoughts on Ways to Help Your Child Deal With the End of a Teenage Romance
Teenage romance can be wonderful and thrilling, but it can hurt as severely as a gaping wound. When your child is going through a breakup, know it will take time to work through the pain. They need your help, love, patience, and empathy to get through this season of their life, but they will get over this emotional upheaval.
While the parent inside you wants to rescue them from this pain, they must learn to handle a part of life. It probably won’t be their last heartbreak, and teenage romance is fickle at best. Remember to listen more than you speak, don’t put your opinions in the mix, and give them the space to heal from this ordeal.
They won’t forget their first love, but soon they will be on to their next person of interest.