As parents, we have this natural instinct to want to protect our children from everything. But realistically we know that is not possible and if we are being honest, the best learning experience we ever had were from the mistakes and experiences that we have gone through on our own. This is important to keep in mind. It seems just yesterday a kiss on the boo-boo was all it needed to make life better. But now your child is coming into the big leagues with new big league problems. These boo-boos are a lot harder to fix and as parents, it’s important that instead of us trying to fix everything, we allow them to learn coping skills on their own.
We want to quickly tell them that this heartbreak is temporary, that there are much more fish in the sea and they’ll get over it before they know it. But when we do this, we are minimalizing their feelings. We are saying to them that what they feel isn’t important or that it’s small. This isn’t what they want to hear and it isn’t small to them. Remember your first break up? While now when we reflect on it, it seems quite silly, but back then it felt like nothing in the world could hurt as much as this heartbreak. Validate their feelings and acknowledge them.
Fight the urge to try and fix it. You don’t want to overcrowd them. Give them space but also be available. Heartbreak is many times something a person just needs to work on themselves. You are helping them become a stronger person. They are building their own emotional intelligence through this experience. They are in the process of learning. Don’t force them to talk about it. Just remind them that you are there for them if they need help or just want to talk about it.
If they decide to share, remember to listen. It’s easy to interject with an opinion but sometimes letting them talk it out is just as healing. Ask them how they are feeling and maybe just relay what they told you. You want to be someone who they can vent to. No need to rely them old stories about your own heartbreaks or advice about what they could do to move on. This is a great opportunity to keep this line of communication open and show your child that they can come to you in times of hurt and need.