As parents or guardians, we want to protect our teens from anything that causes them hurt or stress. Unfortunately, some things they will just have to learn themselves. One of those life lessons is heartbreak. We’re going to chat you through some ways you can help your teen overcome heartbreak.
But first, let’s look at it from their point of view…
They finally told the person that they liked them, and their crush responded that they really like them as just a friend. Or they’ve been going out with someone for months and had made loads of plans for the summer, only to find out they’ve been texting another person.
Regardless of how it happens, rejection feels like someone has ripped your heart out and put it through a mincer. They may have cried for days, had 50 emergency group chat calls with friends, and they’ve eaten ALL of the Ben & Jerry’s, but none of that works.
Scientists say that we feel rejection and physical pain in the same part of our brain. This is why, when you remember emotional pain, sometimes you actually wince as all the feelings come flooding back.
Rejection can also make you feel angry or blame yourself. Your teen might think that they were rejected because they were not good enough. Logically, rejection isn’t all bad. It doesn’t mean that they’re not beautiful and wonderful, but people look for and value different things in each other. It’s so important that we remind them that they mightn’t have done anything wrong; it’s just down to chemistry and connection. The rejector might still genuinely think they’re wonderful and worthy, but not in the way your teen hoped for.
Okay, let’s get down to business. How do we help a teen put themself back together again?
Number One: First up, it’s going to take time
So give it time. They will get over it, and they will be fine, but maybe not today or tomorrow.
Number Two: Stand their ground
If there’s a reason why it didn’t work out, like maybe they didn’t treat your teen very well, or maybe they just weren’t getting on, try and advise your teen to avoid the spur-of-the-moment decision to get back together just because of how the heartbreak feels right now.
Number Three: Cut them off
Unfollow. Delete. Block. They can’t move on if they’re obsessively checking social media for clues.
Number Four: Don’t hide
As much as they might want to, they can’t stay under the bed forever. Gently encourage them to hold your head high.
Number Five: Encourage self-care
Sometimes, when we’re in a relationship or crushing hard, we start to lose who we are a little. Help them get to know themselves again, by encouraging the power of “me-time”.
Number Six: Learn something
Every challenge is an opportunity to learn something about yourself. Why not sit down and chat through what this experience has taught your teen? What could they have done differently? Did they ignore their gut when it told them that something was wrong? Did they water down who they were to fit into the relationship?
Number Seven: Remind them that no one is perfect
Had they convinced themselves that they were? Take off the rose-tinted glasses. Nobody is without fault, and nobody is always right (including you and your daughter, sorry!).
Number Eight: Cry as much as they need
Let them feel those feelings for as long as they need to, and then be there when they get back up and dust themselves off. Remind them that they’re beautiful and that someone would be lucky to have them.
Finally, remember that we will never truly forget anyone completely. Everyone who comes into our life is part of who we are and the person we will become. If they chose to leave our life, let them. We need to ensure that we hold our heads high and know that there are better days ahead.
When all is said and done, just be there for your teen. Remind them that they don’t need someone else’s approval or love to feel like they are good enough. They exist, and therefore they matter and deserve love, just as much as anyone else does.
If you’d like a little more support, check out Emma Kehoe’s SHINE Festival 2022 video – Bouncing Back From Heartbreak. Emma shares some amazing advice on bouncing back from heartbreak and how opening up and being honest about her feelings helped her to do that!
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