Breakups are hard no matter how old you are. Most of us have experienced a breakup in our lives, for teens the breakup can feel even more devastating. But parents, there are some things you can do to help your teen during a breakup.
When a breakup does happen, listen, empathize and support your child. Let them grieve – and avoid jumping to problem-solving, says Dr. Natalie Sergent, a psychologist at Primary Children’s Hospital Center for Counseling
Other tips from Dr. Sergent:
Help them navigate disappointment and promote problem-solving skills.
Validate your teen’s feelings of sadness. Show them that you understand where they’re coming from regardless of your feelings about their significant other. Acknowledge this may feel like a roller coaster and it’s OK to feel sad. Ask your teen how you can help them. Many times, they just want to be heard. Know that problem-solving support may come a few days later when your teen is feeling less emotional.
Talk about technology.
Teens rush to social media to share their lives. Have a conversation about taking a break from social for few days or more to make sure they don’t post something they regret.
Talk about the idea that even if they feel like it, badmouthing an ex or sharing everything about their relationship is not helpful.
Provide a distraction.
Offer to do something they like to do or have them invite friends to do something fun. This helps remind them there is fun after a breakup – and they are still loved.
Get help when you need it.
Realize a parent may not always be the best person to help navigate a breakup. Other adults in your child’s life may be able to offer a different type of support. Or, seek professional support.
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