Breakups Suck! How to help your teen cope
No matter what age breakups can suck! You finally find someone that you connect with, that you want to share your life with and …then… it ends. No matter if you get dumped or you decided to breakup with your partner, the days, weeks, and months after can be difficult AND depression can set in as you try to move on and let go of a person you once or still care for.
When your teen goes through a breakup it can be hard to see them in pain and you may be confused about the best way to help them through the breakup. Many times I speak to teens whose parents either a. give them too much space or b. are constantly hovering. It’s a fine balance supporting your teen as a parent as they become more independent and begin to rely more on friends then family for support.
Check out some DO’S and DON’TS below to help you support your teen through a breakup.
Give your teen space BUT not too much space!
Check in with your teenager but not constantly. Try a couple times a week (3-4 times) and each time you check in ask a different question. Try asking questions that are open ended instead of closed ended. Open ended questions require more thought and words to answer while closed ended questions only require a simple yes or no. So instead of asking “Are you okay?” (which can be answered with “yes” or “no”) Try asking a “How….” Open ended question. For example:
- “How are things going”
- “How are you doing?”
- “How was school?”
- “How are you feeling lately?”
- “How are you coping with the breakup?”
- “How’s life?”
- “How did this week go for you?”
- “How you holding up?”
Do not constantly (multiple times a day) phone, text, email, and ask in person how your teen is doing.
Let your teenager know you’re available to talk. Say something like, “I know breakups can sometimes be difficult, I’m here if you ever want to talk about it” or “I’m here if you need to chat about the breakup”.
Ignore warning signs. Breakups are tough, and sometimes that can have a serious impact on your teen. Memorize these warning signs and get them that extra support (counselling) if you notice they are not coping well.
- extreme weight gain or loss
- sleep problems
- rapid, drastic changes in personality
- sudden change in friends
- skipping school often
- falling grades
- talk or even jokes about suicide
- signs of tobacco, alcohol, or drug use
- run-ins with the law