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Helping Your Teen Heal From Heartbreak

This blog post was written by Recovery Help Now’s, Vanessa Blaxland, MFTi.

Breaking up is hard to do, and even harder when you’re a teenager.   During the teen years a break-up is one the most emotional events a teenager will go through.   Teens are dealing with disappointment, sadness, embarrassment, and the difficulty and anxiety of now having to restructure their social life.  Watching your child hurt and not knowing how to help is the one of the most painful things as a parent.  Now that your child is a teenager I’m sure you wish it were as easy to stop their tears as it was when they were little with a promised trip for ice cream or a lollipop.  However, the good news is there are some tips that will help you help your teen get through a break-up.

1. Give them some space:  It’s normal for your teen to want to be sad and to be alone for a while.  Let them.  They are trying to work out a lot of thoughts and feelings and sometimes doing it alone for a moment instead of with others wanting to give their input can be easier for them.  Still keep an eye on them though.  If you see your teen is isolating themselves for a prolonged period of time or sensing they are depressed beyond what is normal for the break-up, it may be time to seek professional help.

2. Validate:  Even if you think your teen’s break-up is silly or not really all that important in the big scheme of things, even if you hated their boyfriend/girlfriend, or deep inside are happy they aren’t dating anymore, it’s still very important to acknowledge and validate what your teen’s experiencing.  Dismissing their feelings will only make your teen shut down.  But if you approach them from their perspective, which is they’ve just lost one of the most important people in their life, they will be more likely to confide in you and give you the opportunity to help them through this difficult time.

3. Encourage confidence:  After a break-up teens will have some self-defeating thoughts about themselves and their confidence will be bruised up for awhile.  You can help by encouraging your teen to return to the things and hobbies that made them feel good.  After they’ve had time to sulk, encourage them to hang out with friends and do new things.   Helping them find something that gives them confidence and back into the swing of things will give them a distraction from the hurt and make moving on easier.

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