Watching your child suffer through a breakup can be equally heartbreaking for you as a parent. If you were close to your child's partner, it is also a time of loss and separation for you. It is important to offer your love and support to your child during this difficult time and understand that you are going through this healing process together.
Allow your child and yourself to grieve the relationship. Understand that the pain your child is experiencing is normal and real. A study published in the May 2010 issue of the "Journal of Neurophysiology" found that the intensity of feelings experienced during a breakup are similar to those caused by addiction and physical pain. Be a good listener and find ways to show your child that she is surrounded by people who love her.
Explain to your child that a breakup is a normal part of life and that her feelings are acceptable. Share your own breakup experiences, explaining how you eventually met someone better and moved on. Do not minimize your child's emotions when talking about your own experience by saying things like "you're so young" or "this is nothing compared to...."
Take advantage of this time to engage in enjoyable activities with your child. Plan to spend quality time doing things your child enjoys and will provide a distraction for her. Plan a vacation, take a camping trip or enroll in a class together.
Ask your child if she would feel comfortable if you still talk to her ex. Wait until you feel your child is moving on to have this conversation. If your child is okay with you communicating with her ex, avoid talking about him in front of her. Arrange to meet with him during times that she is not around to avoid putting them in an uncomfortable situation.
Talk about the positive outcomes of the breakup with your child. Discuss what she learned from the experience and how this will change her future relationships. Encourage her to continue pursuing activities that will promote her own personal growth.
Check in with yourself periodically to see how you are dealing with the breakup. Engage in self-care activities, such as relaxing, meditating, exercising or spending time with friends. Find a relative or friend who supports and listens to you while you support your child.
- A breakup can be very detrimental to a person's self-esteem. Find ways to show your child that she is loved and cared for. Highlight her qualities and help her see what a valuable person she is.
Lauri Revilla has been writing articles on mental health, wellness, relationships and lifestyle for more than six years. She moved to San Antonio, Texas, from Mexico in 2006. She holds a Master of Science in Psychology from Our Lady of the Lake University.