I am a mother to a toddler girl. And ever since she came into my life I have been dwindling every day between the thoughts of whether to keep her safe, protected from any mishaps of life or to let her explore, let her get hurt, and learn to pick herself up.
God only knows, how will I calm myself down when she will come to me crying about the heartbreak in her teens, because I know that day will come.
I remember, having gone through a major heartbreak in high school and how my elder sister took me out for a Scooty drive and told me that it’s just a phase and how I won’t even know how soon I will get over it. My ears couldn’t believe what I was hearing from her at that moment. How could she trivialise my emotions? As the years passed by and I swiftly moved on to other phases of life, I remembered her words every time. But I also know that when it was her turn for heartbreak, she couldn’t console herself with the same profound beliefs.
So, what is this sorcery where it’s easy for us to guide others through their heartache and dejection but doesn’t work on our own selves? The answer is empathy. The answer is the ability to listen.
No matter how much experience you have gained in the journey of life but when your teenager cuts themselves from you to nurse their wound, all wisdom goes on strike.
So, how to help your teenager handle a heartbreak?
First of all, always enable open, friendly communication between you and your teenage son and daughter. The bridges of dialogue should not only be accessible but welcoming too. It is much healthier when your child shares their feelings with you rather than hiding them and pretending that everything is fine with them but suffering alone.
And when the sharing happens, be a good listener. Many times we just want someone to listen to us wholeheartedly, even when we know that they can’t do much or when we know about the ways to sort out our issues. We are not looking for solutions or reassurance always, being heard matters a lot. After a few years of what happened between me and my sister, my younger brother came to me and confessed about him finding it tough to handle his breakup. All I did was listen to him first.
I can say from my experience that being subjected to such confessions can be quite overwhelming as you want to give them a reality check by schooling them about the realities of life but it can take a toll on their emotional health.
Be empathetic and non-judgmental. They just need to know that you care and you understand how difficult it would be for them.
Also, be an open-minded receiver, understand that generations have changed and the norms of romantic relationships too, being judgemental will only force them to hide in their cocoons.
Share your own events of life. Sharing how once in your life you thought that you could never move on to a better relationship after having a misfortune in your previous one but today you are in a much happier, evolved, and mature space.
When someone shows us that once they were in a miserable position like the one we are in at present but they could get out of it to a much better state, our mind sees it as an example, a story of hope and positivity.
Adolescence comes with a self-awareness of our body and about others, on the other hand, the world starts making us aware of their opinion of conventional aesthetics of the body too.
So, it can also be an onset of adolescents, self-judging themselves on the way they look and comparing with others. Falling for others, having a crush on someone, or feeling rejected on the basis of physical appearance may seem silly to the grownups but that’s how the teen years are. Teach them about self-esteem and self-confidence at home before the beginning of their teenage years. It is easier said than done but speaking to them kindly, appreciating them on their qualities, working with them on something which they are good at will help your child deal with rejections or heartbreak when the time comes by creating a self-loving personality.
Remember, you are the safe haven for them. When the world shows them that they are less, it is your job to make them feel enough.
Don’t be a helicopter parent
Give them their space when they need it and keep a check on them and their health. The pain of the first heartbreak only heals with time. As a parent, no matter how much you try, they will take their own sweet time to grow above this miserable feeling, so your job should be to support them in the process they choose but not force your method on them.
Don’t be disrespectful towards their emotions. For them, it’s for the first time. First love and first heartbreak can be devastating for that age. They haven’t known any way better than this. When you will respect their feelings, they will learn to respect their own and others too.
Don’t disapprove of their choice. You may feel that you are comforting them by belittling their ex or you may get infuriated on seeing your child’s state and feel like abusing or ridiculing your child’s crush or partner but that will only make things worse. They will start questioning their own choice, it may also hit their confidence.
In our lives, we meet many people, like few of them, fewer of them like us back, and very few of them work out in the end. Dissing others or disrespecting others will only leave a negative impact on our mindset and heart.
In the end, the first heartbreak is a journey that your teen has to take on their own. You can just be a call-a-friend or other helplines in this adventure. Your job should be to prepare them for this journey and not being an uninvited force to pressure them to finish this journey before time and getting bruised instead.