Sometimes they may just want to vent their anger at the end of the relationship and as long as you're there to listen, you're doing a great job. It may do them a world of good just to have someone sitting with them, happy to spend time with them after being rejected by their partner. They may also be confused about why the relationship ended, especially if they were not the one to instigate it and may just want reassurance that they are a good person.
Although it may be very tempting to say not-so-nice things about their ex just to make them feel better, it will not help in the long run. You will probably not know exactly what caused the breakup and many teenagers get back together after time apart. You wouldn't want them to go on and become serious after you had said negative things about them. Explain the positives that can come out of a breakup. Although it may not seem very helpful at the time, listing the positive aspects of a breakup will help your child focus away from the despair and sadness he or she will be feeling. Breakups can make people grow, especially someone as young as a teenager, and it will make them much stronger and resilient in the future.
Explain to them that many relationships do not last so they're not the only one to be experiencing the feelings they are. Without delving too deep, why not revisit your own high school relationship past and explain to them that you have been there too, and explain how it affected you in a positive way. Although they may not respond to it immediately it will help them realize there is life after a breakup even if it doesn't feel like it at the time.
If your child is living at home when they suffer a breakup, they may lash out, become angry and treat you differently than how they would normally. Don't worry about this as it will simply be a by-product of the way they are feeling and could be their way of dealing with the situation. Give them space and be understanding of their behavior as it will usually pass quite quickly. Do not be offended if they are rude or short-tempered. Although you may feel their anger is directed at you, it is just their coping mechanism.
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