Suffering through a breakup is one of those rites of passage that almost everyone must endure. When you watch from the sidelines as your teenager struggles through a broken heart, you may learn a new level of powerlessness and pain. Your support and love can have a positive impact as you console and encourage your teen through the challenging and difficult grief process.
1 Reach out to your teenager to offer support and comfort. Your effort to connect may simply be a hug or a squeeze on his shoulder with a few words to let him know you care and are concerned about the situation, suggests the Boston Public Health Commission.
2 Tell your teenager you are always available to listen if she wants to talk, vent or even just cry. You might also reassure your teen that you won't judge her or criticize her in any way -- you will just listen and support quietly.
3 Provide encouragement and positive messages about your adolescent's ability to get through the heartbreak, suggests psychologist Kathryn H. Leugers, with Meers, Inc., Consulting Psychologists. It's likely that your teen feels inadequate and even incapable of getting through the pain of the breakup. If you give her encouragement about her strength and resiliency, she may feel stronger and more able to cope.
4 Explore possible feelings your teenager may be experiencing to help him put a name to his emotions and better understand them, advises pediatrician Sue Hubbard, with The Kid's Doctor website. For example, your adolescent may feel embarrassed, angry, humiliated, sad and hopeless. Once you mention awareness of these feelings, your youngster might open up and express feelings because he feels your empathy and understanding.
5 Suggest some positive coping strategies that might help your teenager get through the pain and feel better. She might listen to uplifting music, exercise, see a movie with friends, go shopping, write in a journal or tackle a cleaning project. The purpose of these coping strategies involves getting her busy and avoiding down time when she might dwell on sadness.
6 Reassure your child that even though he feels horrible now, the pain and heartbreak won't last indefinitely. It can feel demotivating and frightening to feel so sad without knowing the pain will subside in a short time.
- Consider other issues connected to the breakup that could affect your teen, advises the Boston Public Health Commission. For example, social networking websites can create a public arena where a teen may feel embarrassed and humiliated in this situation. You might encourage your teen to steer clear of visiting these websites while she feels heartbroken.
- Watch your teenager for signs of depression. If she isolates herself from friends and family, doesn't eat or sleep normally and stops engaging in typical activities such as school and sports, she may need professional intervention, warns Hubbard.
- Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images