With first relationships come first breakups, all parents play an important role in helping your teenager cope with their first heartbreak. In fact, any breakups of romance are painful at any stage of life. However, as we adults may have faced a few failed relationships, it is easier for us to weather our disappointment and eventually, the veil of depression will inevitably lift. Unlike teenagers experiencing their first heartbreak, their sadness can be bottomless.
As your teenager has not learned resilience, parents need to treat their feelings seriously. Studies have shown that breakups are one of the major precipitators of suicidal thoughts in young people. A sequel to our article “5 Things Parents Should Know When Your Child Starts Dating”, we will share with you some tips for parents to help your teenager cope with their first heartbreak.
Acknowledge Your Teen’s Feeling and Listen
When you’re supportive and a ‘best friend’ to your teen even before they start dating, your teen will naturally come to you when they face their first heartbreak. Although the majority of the teenagers will get over their hurt, parents can aid the healing process by being generous with time, patience and hugs. Sometimes, just listening is the best thing you can do.
Allow Your Teen to Feel Sad
Acknowledge how your teen is feeling without trying to pull them out of sadness. It is common for parents to say “Cheer up, it’s very normal for relationships to end. You will get over it very soon.” But hey, would you like someone telling you that when you’re upset? You’re only implying to your teen that they do not have the right to their emotions. Put yourself in their shoes and be sensitive over your choice of words. However, your teen’s blues that linger for more than a month may warrant professional counselling.
Never Reveal Negative Thoughts about Your Teen’s Relationship
“I told you so! I have never liked him in the first place and I knew he was not the right one for you.” Some of us tend to say things like this which essentially implies “Serve you Right”. Yes, we may be happy that our judgement is right but you should never rub salt to their wounds at this point of time. Before you know, their significant other will realize his/her mistake and come crawling back for a second chance.
Share your Stories
When we were young, we would share anything with our best friends from courtship to dates and heartbreaks. Just imagine your teen is your best friend. Share with them the stories of your past relationship(s), how you felt when it ended and how you overcame it. Remember to keep your voice tone at an empathy level and not showing off that you had it easy. You will want your teen to relate to you and most importantly, to let them know if it wasn’t for the breakup, you will not have met ‘the one’ who are proud to be their parents today.
Encourage Your Teen to Hang Out with Friends
Don’t force but encourage your teen to hang out with their friends. Surrounding your teen with friends who love and support them will help them ease their heartbreak and coping with their hurt faster. However, you may have teens that refuse to meet anyone and isolate themselves. In such circumstances, you may encourage your teen to watch a movie with you or play some video games together. Keep them occupied away from nasty thoughts until they feel better and ready to socialise.
Most importantly, parents must always be present in your teens’ life as you are their pillars of strength. Never let your child be afraid of you in which they will only oppose you. Be their best friend that they can trust and count on. You need them to share with you their feelings and what’s going on in their lives voluntarily. Do read here to know more tips on what you should do when your child starts dating.