Helping Young People Cope With Break Ups
By Erica Reitz
Heartbreak is part of life, and break ups can leave you feeling heartbroken. It doesn’t matter who ended it, how long you were together, or even how old you are – the ending of a relationship still hurts. Whether young people date or not is a family decision, and if it’s allowed in your family, you should prepare for the inevitable break up.
First, help your young person understand that while they cannot change the situation, they are in control of how you respond to it.
There are a number of ways to cope with a break up, but not all of them are healthy. The Bridget Jones-esque version – sitting on the couch watching romantic comedies, bawling while eating a tub of ice cream – may be okay for a day or two but doesn’t help your teen learn how to move forward after rejection.
Obsessively checking an ex’s Twitter and Instagram to see what they last posted only causes more heartache in the long run.
Quickly moving on to another dating partner doesn’t allow your young person the time to process the good and bad of the previous relationship nor their emotional response to the break up.
Let your young person know that it’s okay to be sad! They just lost an important part of their life. Of course that will take time to heal.
Once the toughest wave of emotion passes, encourage them to get back into something they love. Support them in taking advantage of the single life: help them carve out time for themselves, friends, family and hobbies that might have disappeared during the relationship.
Many young people post-break up will try to reinvent themselves and rebuild their confidence by going on a crash diet or exercising excessively. This is not healthy! A balanced diet and thirty minutes of exercise a day can lower stress levels and improve mood. Stick to doing all things in moderation – it will make their next relationship better too!
Erica Reitz is the summer TEENPOWER Intern at Youth Resources.