Breaking up is hard to do, as the song goes. It’s even harder when it is your first one and you’re at a tender, young age. As moms, it breaks our heart to see our child go through this experience, but it’s a rite of passage that we all must go through at some (sometimes many) times in our life. Knowing how to help your child cope with their first breakup is something we all need to be prepared for, even at a child’s younger age.
How to help your child cope with first breakup tips:
Your child may want to just talk it all out and isn’t really looking for you to fix the situation for her. So, just be that shoulder to cry on, if that’s all she’s looking to get from you right now. Expect a range of emotions from anger, to confusion and just plain pain.
Now, this is a tricky one. Be understanding, but don’t dare tell your child that you understand. “Wait, what?” Hear me out…The last thing your child wants to hear is that you understand, because, remember that we moms aren’t supposed to understand what they are going through because we’re not them. That’s the child’s viewpoint, although we know better. So, show your understanding by not commenting on what she should do or not do. Just ask questions like, “It hurts inside so much, right?” and “Does that make you feel like it’s the end of the world?”. You’re showing your understanding of her emotions without saying “I understand”. Uttering those two words is bound to send her off on a tirade that you do not want to deal with right now.
Other Fish in the Sea
While you definitely want to put this statement on the “do not utter” list, since you will probably get the same reaction that “I understand” would bring you, there are ways of diverting her attention in that direction. Mention other boys that she has been interested in or mentioned, and even those you know are pining for her. If she’s transitioning into middle or high school soon, mention how big that fish bowl is about to get for her. Find ways to insert a touch of humor and redirection into the conversation so she realizes that it truly is not the end of the world for her relationships.
Find whatever happy activity you do as a family that is sure to bring a smile to her face and spontaneously do it. If it’s cooking a special meal, going out for frozen yogurt or even hanging out at a store for a little “retail therapy”, take her by the hand and do it. Raise her mood by doing something that will make her smile and realize that there are still wonderful things around in her life to enjoy.
Getting over a breakup, no matter your age, takes time. Don’t try to rush her into healing from it too quickly, but don’t allow her to wallow for too long, either. Strike a balance in bringing her out of the funk and giving her space to work it out herself. And, just remember, this will happen again, so take the lessons learned from this first venture into it and apply them for the next time, the time after that and the time after that, and…you know how it goes.
Do you have other tips to help a child cope with first breakup blues?