Seeing your child deal with heartbreak is heartbreaking for you as a parent. Whether it’s watching their first crush choose someone else or they’re going through a difficult breakup, it tugs at your heartstrings. All you want to do is make everything better. While you can’t exactly do that, there’re things you can do to help them get through this difficult time.
1. Don’t Minimize Their Pain
It can be tempting to tell your child that the pain they’re feeling is small compared to what could be going on in their life. You’re only trying to put things into perspective but this isn’t usually helpful. The pain they’re feeling is big to them. Try to refrain from comments that minimize what they’re going through. They need you to understand that they feel sad and upset.
What can help your child is empathizing with them. Sharing stories of your first heartbreak or when a crush didn’t turn into a relationship can help them feel not so alone. It’s a good reminder to them that they’ll get through this difficult time. Another benefit is that it helps you to relate to how they’re feeling. There’s nothing like remembering when you were heartbroken to feel empathetic.
3. Make Their Favorite Meal
Of course this won’t fix everything but it’s a small gesture of kindness. It’s nice to know someone’s thinking of you and doing something just because they love you no matter what age you are. If spaghetti and meatballs or hamburgers and fries are a favorite then now’s the time to pull them out. Even a temporary break from their sadness for a meal they love is helpful. There’s no denying that food can be comforting.
4. Remind Them Their Future is Bright
Hope is always helpful. It’s good to remind your child that their future is bright. Talk about all the great things that’re waiting for them next week, next year or years in the future. Getting their mind off of their troubles can be helpful. Helping them shift their focus to positive things can help them feel better.
5. Give Them Space
There’s also value in giving them some space. They may want to be alone to deal with their feelings. That’s okay. Allowing them to have that time to process their feelings is healthy. We all need time to sort through our thoughts and feelings at times, right?
6. Encourage Them to Get out of the House
It’s important to note that all of these are ideas you can try at different times while your child is getting over a heartbreak. There may be a day or two where they need some space to be alone with their thoughts and there may be a day or two where it would be good for them to get out of the house. Dealing with heartbreak is a process. It makes sense that your child will need different things at different times. When you think they’re ready, encourage them to get out with their friends again.
7. Do Something Special for Them
Doesn’t it mean so much to you when someone does something just because they know you’re feeling down? A gift that’s given just to cheer you can be wonderful to receive. You could do this for your child. Pick up a hoodie you know they’ll love, treat them to a movie or a recent book by their favorite author. This can absolutely lift their spirits.
These’re 7 things you can do to help your heartbroken child. Have you watched your child go through heartbreak? What seemed to help them the most?