As a parent of two teenage girls, I have to say this is not something I am looking forward to so much, so I delayed the whole experience by sending them to a girl’s school, which so far has worked. However I am not sure how long this will last.
As a youth and parent coach I regularly support young girls and their parents in getting through their first heartbreak and here is what I have learnt.
1. We can’t fix it – most parents try so hard to step in and fix it, to make it better, to get involved. We often say that there are plenty more fish in the sea or that it won’t matter when our daughter is older, but none of this is helpful. We can’t fix it, we can’t help them get over it, it is all part of life and the best way to support your daughter is to allow her to feel how she feels, allow it to be OK for her to have emotions. Don’t make it wrong for your teenagers to feel pain; it is part of the great existence of life and we don’t know love if we don’t know heartbreak. Don’t feel the need to rush in and fix it, but make it OK for her and you to feel the pain.
2. Allow her to grieve – we are so good in Western society at not allowing anyone to grieve. In England, for example, we have to have a stiff upper lip, meaning in essence that we just get on with it. However, we have to have time to grieve the loss of someone in our lives, even if that loss is just that they have left us. Let your teen know that this is OK and normal. Buy her favourite treat, snuggle up in front of a good film, tell her you love her and let her have whatever experience she needs to have. Some teens will get over things very quickly, some will ache much longer, so don’t judge how your teenager is responding by how you would. Allow her all the time she needs and don’t make assumptions about what may be right or wrong for her at this time. Just remind her daily how much she is loved and how special she is.
3. The best things are born out of heartbreak. However destructive heartbreak is, let’s not forget it can make way for the most emotional artistic creations. Where would Adele be if she hadn’t had her hear broken a few times? Recently, my daughter became slightly obsessed with a member of a boy band. Rather than discouraging this as a teenage crush, I encouraged her to write a story about it, which has led to a novel that will be coming out next year. This sort of amazing thing is created out of heartbreak and letting the emotions out in this way will get your daughter over something much quicker. Encourage her to get creative, write, draw and act whatever she does encourage her to let her feelings out in a constructive way. It may just be the making of her.
Whatever you do as a parent, don’t panic. While the pain in the teen years can be intense and can be as painful for us as parents, we must remember that they do get over it. These disappointments we face in life only lead us towards the perfect person for us and without this journey with all its ups and downs, life would be a very boring place indeed.