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7 Tips to help your teen cope with heartbreak

woman in fear and pain with pills

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Cerith Gardiner - published on 03/25/23

One of the hardest things to cope with as a young adult is losing your first love. Here's how you can help.

Having an adolescent in the house is not always easy. Add to that a teen with heartache and it’s often a double whammy of pain for the entire family.

So to help adolescents and young adults deal with the misery of losing their first loves, check out these tried and tested (by me with my four children, and multiple students in their late teens!) ways of making life a little more bearable.

Acknowledge the pain

First, whatever you do, don’t just brush off your child’s heartache. They feel the loss of their relationship deeply and it needs to be taken seriously. If they need to cry, give them the space and time to do so.

Don’t use the old “plenty of fish in the sea”

One thing that annoyed me as a young woman, and then annoyed my daughter, was hearing that there are plenty of other men out there among the population of 8 billion.

Not only does this negate the depth of feeling for the loved individual with the idea that he can be so easily replaced, but it’s also not useful for grieving the love that’s been lost.

A more thoughtful approach is to say something like, “Although you may not be ready to hear this, somewhere on this planet is someone getting on with their daily life unaware of how blessed they’re going to be when they end up falling in love with you.”

The idea of the unknown is exciting, and it also allows your child to think that they’re on a journey that God has laid our for them, and who knows where it will lead.

Go for a walk

Encourage your child to go on a walk with you. Leave all technological devices at home so that you can both focus on spending time together to discuss your child’s situation if they wish to share what’s in their heart.

The physical exercise and fresh air can be a real mood booster, and will remind them that there is life outside their bedroom walls.

Keep them busy

If possible, get your child to keep their mind off their lost love by doing chores, or going out. It might be too tricky for them to study, and they might feel frustrated, so physical tasks are the way forward.

Share the positives

The one thing many people do is to say negative things about the person who broke their child’s heart. I try to avoid this as you don’t want your child to feel foolish for having feelings for an unsuitable person.

What I like to do is to get my child to see the things they really liked in that person and note the things they weren’t so keen on. Then, armed with that information you can say that they’re building up the list of qualities to find their future husband or wife. (As well as the things they might want to avoid!)

This might be a little painful and the qualities might be exaggerated as your child clings to the things they loved. However, over time they can re-address this list and realize that these positives can be found in other people, too.

Better to have and loved and lost?

The quote from Tennyson: ‘Tis better to have and lost than never to have loved at all” is an important one. Tell your child to imagine a life where they have never loved. It’s one of the greatest gifts given to us by God, and if we have the capacity to love one person, then we can love others, too. And that is the joy and hope that we hold on to during our earthly life.

Share the example of Jesus

When it comes to love and and suffering, there’s no better example than God’s love for us. So deep was His love that he sacrificed His only child. That not only helps put things in perspective, it can also remind your child to have faith in God’s plan for them.

Tags:
Catholic LifestyleLoveTeens
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