Breakups are never easy, and your child's breakup is no exception. The world seems to stand still, devastation sets in and the future looks bleak. It’s a feeling that you never want your child to experience, but you can’t protect her from this pain. Watching her go through a breakup can leave you feeling powerless. However, you can take steps to help her move on and ease her pain.
Encourage your child to express his feelings but do not force conversation. He may feel angry, hurt and vulnerable. “For teens, a relationship ending can feel like a failure,” says Adolescent Counseling Services in California. Respect your child and give him space to grieve. He may be more irritable and quick to lash out. The Adolescent Counseling Services suggests, “By being empathic, understanding and available to teens, you can help ease the emotional distress."
Your child’s self-esteem can take a hit with a breakup. “The teen years are inherently a time when individuals feel less confident in themselves, so having someone care for them can make them feel more confident,” says Adolescent Counseling Services. The end of your child’s relationship may make her question her worth. She may feel she will never have another relationship. Reassure your child of her self-worth and point out her positive qualities. For example, remind her of her good sense of humor and ability to care for others.
Take your child’s feelings seriously. Do not minimize his pain. Be aware that he may see his ex at school, making it difficult to move on. “A little extra sensitivity helps, too, for in this situation, knowing what not to say is as important as choosing the right words,” says the American Academy of Pediatrics. For example, do not speak negatively about his ex or judge their relationship. Gently remind him that the pain will pass with time.
Encourage your child to spend time with friends or participate in activities she enjoys. For example, suggest going to a movie with a friend, playing a sport or going shopping. “Getting plenty of rest, eating healthy, exercising, and staying involved in a variety of activities can help combat sadness and boost self-esteem,” says KidsHealth.