No parent is quite prepared for their teen’s first heartbreak. It can be heart wrenching to see your teen suffer mentally and emotionally at the end of their first romantic relationship. You want to reach out, but you also want to respect their independence. You’ve probably already tried to help and ended up rebuffed. So here are a few ways that you can help your teen without overstepping your boundaries.
Being understanding is essential to parenting teenagers, but especially so when your teen is experiencing heartbreak for the first time. Spend time talking with your teen about the emotions they are feeling. Help your teen through the experience by validating their emotions and feelings regarding the breakup and the situation at hand. Don’t offer advice or try to “make it better” unless they ask you to.
Let Them Mourn
Past relationships can haunt people for a lifetime. Regardless of your teen’s age, it is important to avoid minimizing their relationship and the hurt or pain they are experiencing. It may be trivial to you as an adult, but for them it may as well be the end of the world. Give your teen as much space as they need on their own to properly heal from their breakup and heartbreak. Pestering or suffocating your teen with comfort and love can be extremely detrimental to your relationship, as it is likely that your teen simply needs some time on their own as they process their grief and adjust to a new normal. While heartbreak happens to everyone, it is still essential to understand the unique perspective your teen may have about their own relationship.
Encourage Patience and, If Necessary, Counselling
While most teens will learn to overcome the emotional heartache they are feeling after their first experience with heartbreak, others may struggle and require additional help. If your lessons about patience and time passage are not helping your teenager, consider counselling sessions for your teen to help them better cope with and overcome their grief. Consider counselling sessions if your teen has expressed symptoms of depression or if they have shared thoughts of suicide, or even suicidal jokes. Counselling can help to better guide your teen on a path of healing and recovery with the assistance of a professional third-party.
Providing support and empathy is the most important thing you can do as they grieve their past relationship. Simply being there for your teen when they are in need can go a long way to strengthen your bond and relationship for years to come.