Your Teen’s First Breakup

I just read an excellent article by Michael Ross in a Focus on the Family magazine. The article was about dealing with your teen’s first breakup, and while I could not find it online to provide a link to the article, I would like to summarize the advice here.

It can be tempting, with a parent’s years of experience and perspective, to minimize a breakup. From our perspective, it isn’t a big deal (and you may be thrilled to say good riddance to the relationship). But this is your teen’s first encounter with very adult emotions, and your child needs you. So:

  • Do take your child’s emotions seriously. Resist the temptation to say, “It wasn’t real love, just get over it,” because the pain, at least, is real.
  • Don’t expect your teen to bounce back over night. Give your child room (and permission) to grieve. At the same time, don’t allow him to become isolated.
  • Do listen and don’t judge or fear deep emotions. As you listen, it may be best not to say anything at all.
  • Do give hugs. Don’t give advice. Your teen is grieving, and needs to know that you are there (that YOU won’t leave them too). If they ask for advice, you can share from your experience, but someone in pain is looking for care, not answers.