We’ve all been there, but that doesn’t make your child’s first broken heart any easier. How do you help mend tender hearts?
As a parent, you want to remind your child that she’ll get over it or meet someone else. But, remember, that when a break-up is happening to you, it can feel like no one else in the world has ever felt the same way.
If your teen is experiencing these feelings, there are things you can suggest to help lessen his pain.
- Share your feelings. Sharing your feelings with someone you trust helps you feel better. That could mean talking over all the things you feel, even having a good cry on the shoulder of a comforting friend or family member. If you feel like someone can’t relate to what you’re going through or is dismissive of your feelings, find someone more sympathetic to talk to.
- Don’t be afraid to cry. Going through a break-up can be really tough, and getting some of those raw emotions out can be a big help.
- Remember what’s good about you. This one is really important. Sometimes people with broken hearts start to blame themselves for what’s happened. They may be really down on themselves, exaggerating their faults as though they did something to deserve the unhappiness they’re experiencing. If you find this happening to you, nip it in the bud! Remind yourself of your good qualities, and if you can’t think of them because your broken heart is clouding your view, get your friends to remind you.
- Take good care of yourself. A broken heart can be very stressful so don’t let the rest of your body get broken too. Get lots of sleep, eat healthy foods, and exercise regularly to minimize stress and depression and give your self-esteem a boost.
- Do the things you normally enjoy. Whether it’s seeing a movie or going to a concert, do something fun to take your mind off the negative feelings for a while.
- Keep yourself busy. Sometimes this is difficult when you’re coping with sadness and grief, but it really helps. This is a great time to redecorate your room or try a new hobby. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think about what happened — working things through in our minds is all part of the healing process — it just means you should focus on other things too.
- Give yourself time. It takes time for sadness to go away. Almost everyone thinks they won’t feel normal again, but the human spirit is amazing — and the heartbreak almost always heals after a while. How long that takes depends on what caused your heartbreak, how you deal with loss, and how quickly you tend to bounce back from things. Getting over a break-up can take a couple of days to many weeks and sometimes even months.
Sometimes the sadness is so deep, or lasts so long, that your teen may need extra support. For someone who isn’t starting to feel better after a few weeks or who continues to feel depressed, talking to a counselor or therapist can be very helpful.
© 2012. Article adapted from The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth®. Used under license.