7 Ways to Help Your Teen Recover from Broken Relationships
Jaime is 16. She’s shy, and never had a boyfriend before, but has a strong group of girlfriends. This semester, she has geometry with Patrick. Once they started talking, things moved quickly. First, they flirted often, and passed each other brief notes. Before long, they spoke on the phone every night. He came over to her family’s house for dinner. Jamie’s mother notices how bright Jaime seems and feels happy for her, but she’s worried—what happens when Jaime and Patrick break up?
As your child becomes a teen, the work of protecting her from pain grows harder. Her emotional life expands, growing more complex and encircling more people. Your job as a parent can be trickier to navigate than it was when your child came running to you when she was hurting.
Young love can be a particularly terrifying stretch of your parenting journey; you see how happy your child is, yet know that most first romances fade as both people move on and grow. No matter what your teen is going through, you can—and are uniquely qualified—to walk alongside, as she struggles with new and confusing romantic experiences and help your teen recover from broken relationships that she will inevitably face.
If you’re not sure where to start with your broken-hearted teen, it can help to remember a few basic things:
1. First love feels different.
From your perspective as an adult, your child’s reaction to the end of a short relationship might seem over-dramatic. It can help to remember that this is the first time your child is experiencing emotions you’ve likely cycled through at least once before. Remembering how important this feels to her can help your teen feel validated by you.
2. Find the middle ground.
Over-empathizing with your child’s experience can be counterproductive, especially as your teen will eventually look back on this relationship from a middle ground on her own. At first, the breakup will shake her whole world; being a rock for her could help provide her with some much needed perspective. Listen and provide comfort without villainizing the ex, or catastrophizing with her.
3. Let your teen know you’re there for her.
Your teenager might not even know what she most needs from you. Asking if something has happened, if you haven’t heard about a boyfriend for a while, can help break the ice your teen isn’t ready to break on her own. Listen when she shares what she’s feeling. Learn more about how communication with your teen is not only possible, but necessary to growing a lasting relationship.
4. Give her space.
When it comes to your teen’s personal life, it can be really difficult to know when to step in, and when to step back. A good solution can be to acknowledge your teen’s painful feelings, let her know you’re there for her when she needs you, and then wait for her to come to you on her terms.
5. Keep her moving.
Because a first-love can feel all-consuming, it might be hard for your teen to want to get out of bed, or do the things she used to enjoy. Focus on the practical: Feed your teen, keep her hydrated, and get her on her feet every day, even if it’s just to help run a few errands.
6. Give hope.
Demonstrate positive experiences of love for your teen when you have the opportunity. Help her to have fun again, and to lean on solid friendships. Nudge her to focus on things she loves. Find small ways to help her realize she’s alright on her own. Talking together about future dreams can be the motivation your teen needs to get back into life again.
7. Be patient.
It might seem like your teen is making great strides, when she suddenly breaks down at the thought of the breakup. “I thought we were past this,” you might think. Emotional relapses are normal, and they don’t mean your teen isn’t growing or learning.
Eddins Counseling Group has counseling Services Available for learning how to help your teen recover from broken relationships.
To get started now give us a call to schedule an appointment at 832-559-2622 or schedule an appointment online.
Sign up to be notified of group and workshop dates.