There is nothing more refreshing than young love. The commitment, the sacrifice, and yes even the passion can be invigorating to observe.
As a parent your teens coupling is one more indicator that your child is truly growing older. This is why few things seem more devastating or dire to them than their first real heartbreak.
As a parent the situation can leave you feeling helpless and hurting. You want to support your teen but feel as if everything you do and say is just plain wrong.
You wish you had the magic words to snap him teen out of his misery. A part of you worries that their reaction is far more intense than it should be.
You stop for moment and think back to your own first heart break. That quick stab of pain however, grounds you and you realize that that from your teens perspective the world now seems lonely and sad.
This is one of those situations however, where helping to stop the hurt can be difficult and at moments seem impossible. Time to focus on what you can do, not on what you can’t:
1. Just listen. Even if you could offer every reason in the universe why you knew this was not a match made in heaven, DON”T. Right now all your teen needs is your support, comfort, and condolences. Towards this end avoid saying any of the following or any variations there of:
“There are more fish in the sea”
“I never liked her anyway.”
“I told you he was no good.”
“Get over it.”
“You're young, you don’t even know what real heartbreak is.”
“It’s not like you were going to marry her.”
Etc…you get the point!
2. Avoid telling tales of your own heartbreak. Although you certainly have good intentions, now is not the time to talk about your own lost loves. At all costs avoid saying things like “I know exactly how you feel.” Because teens are by nature egocentric, your teen is prone to believe that no one has ever felt the way she does, especially not you! Remember this isn’t about you.
3. Just be there. Now is a time when your actions can express your caring and concern. The child in your teen needs you. Bring her a warm cup of cocoa; bake him his favorite cookies. Even if she can’t drink, or he can’t eat, your actions mean more to your teen than you realize.
4. Time and space will help heal the wounds but remember your teen is on his own timeline. The pain of one’s first heartbreak is a hard thing to measure. It may take far longer than you figured for your teen to get back to being his ‘normal’ self. Give him space and time and he should slowly get back to baseline.
5. Do push your teen to get back to her daily routine. Even if at first it seems as if your teen is simply going through the motions of daily living, it is important for her to get back to her life. Allowing your teen to take a day off from school due to the devastation she if feeling is one thing however, if your teen is unable to follow through on her daily responsibilities after the initial break-up such as getting up, taking a shower, going to school, there may be cause for concern. Teens in general are vulnerable to depression. If your teen is so devastated she can not function, it is probably time to seek out the help of a professional counseling.
6. Do take dramatic statements such as “I cannot live without her,” seriously. In emotionally charged moments judgment can be compromised. Talk with your teen immediately; ask him if he is safe. Let him know how seriously you take such statements. If you have any concern what so ever, seek professional help.
7. Keep the faith. This too shall pass. Teens in general are a resilient breed. Don’t be surprised if one moment she is brooding and the next she is introducing you to her new boyfriend. Oh, and don’t be shocked by the piercings, remember you can’t judge a book by it’s cover.
More from GalTime:
- How to Help Your Daughter Survive a 'Best Friend' Breakup
- Parents Teaching their Kids to Text & Drive?
- Top 5 Conversations to Have with Your College-Bound Teen
- Teens and the Silent Treatment
Jennifer Powell-Lunder and Barbara Greenberg are authors of the hit book, "Teenage as a Second Language: A Parent's Guide to Becoming Bilingual." They've set up an interactive website for parents and teens to listen, learn and discuss hot topics and daily dilemmas. You can find it at www.talkingteenage.com.