Call it fascination, a crush or raging hormones, but romantic relationships are beyond the understanding of a teenage mind. During this time, an adolescent will experience the rush of emotions which aren’t easy to control. Moreover, problems may arise once the teenager is going through a breakup. Handling a broken heart as an adult is one thing, but when you are a teenager it seems all the more overwhelming. This is why chances of a teenager becoming chronically depressed are extremely high. This makes it very important for parents to be able to hear a teen’s silent request for advice and support to deal with a broken heart.
Understanding the grief
Another thing to note is that both the sexes deal with heartbreaks differently. Even though both will experience stress and depression, how they deal with it is poles apart. Girls will go on marathon chat sessions or phone calls with their friends to discuss every teeny tiny detail of their breakup. This helps them blow off steam and come to terms with the situation. The validation provided by a strong and supportive group of friends also help in softening the blow.
Boys however are more prone to withdrawing socially and becoming reclusive. To maintain the aura of manliness they refuse to even accept that they are hurt and this is one of the most dangerous situations. Lack of emotional and social support can easily push them over the edge and they fall into deep depression or even drug addiction.
Kara Joyner, an assistant professor of policy analysis and management in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell, conducted a research on almost 8,200 teens in order to examine the impact of breakups on adolescent depression. She interviewed her subjects twice in two years and found out that adolescents who got involved in romantic relationships during the first year were more prone to depression than those who got romantically involved during the second year. This shows that the younger they are when their heart breaks, the more hurt they will feel. The study also revealed that young girls feel more depressed over heartbreak than young boys.
The study further showed that a failed romance can have very adverse effects on a teen’s relations with his parents and friends. Such teens are also at a higher risk of becoming alcohol dependent and juvenile delinquents.
Keeping the balance
A breakup is bound to get your child emotionally unbalanced. So how is it possible to keep their sorrow in check?
Set Boundaries: If you feel that the mourning period has stretched too far, take charge of the situation at once. Although your intervention will be rejected, you need to hold your ground. Set the ground rules and insist on compliance. Other things which should alert you to the problem aggravating is signs of drug abuse, lack of or excessive sleeping and disinterest in life in general. It is time to call in the professionals and get therapy.
Validate: Do not brush aside your teen’s feelings about a breakup as silly and childish. Even if a girlfriend or boyfriend was not to your liking, do not celebrate the breakup. Right now you’re who your child is looking for validation, acceptance and understanding; give it to them generously. If you dismiss their feelings right now, they will further move into their cocoon and become isolated.
Encourage confidence: Gently but continuously encourage your teen to return to the activities and hobbies which they previously found enjoyable. They might dismiss them in the beginning but eventually will return to life. Help them find something familiar, which gives them confidence and they will gradually turn into their old selves again.
Be ready to relive your own teen years by being ready for advice on real life or online dating. Guide you teen away from the phantoms of depression and relationship stress.