As a parent, watching your daughter experience her first heartbreak can be painful to endure. You want to take away her hurt and repair her confidence, but doing that is not something you can accomplish overnight. There are ways you can help her to work through this grief, however, as she learns what it means to have her heart broken.
Listening is the best resource you can provide to your daughter right now. She needs you to be a supportive ear, rather than the voice of reason pointing out all the ways her lost love was not the one. Hear her out as she expresses everything she will miss, and avoid telling her there are other fish in the sea or that she will get over this heartbreak soon. According to relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle, Ph.D., you should let your teen know you are there for her, but resist pushing.
Keep it About Her
While it can be tempting to council your daughter with tales of similar heartbreaks you have experienced, she doesn’t need to hear about your past right now. Sharing stories of how you overcame your first heartbreak may make her feel as though you are diminishing the emotions she is currently experiencing. Teens are narcissistic by nature, and your daughter may have a difficult time believing what you experienced was at all comparable to what she is now going through.
Recognize She Has Her Own Timeline
With time, your teen will come to a place of healing on her own, but it is important for you to recognize her timeline might differ from what you would expect. Give her understanding and patience as she navigates these waters, while also urging her to get back to her daily routine as soon as possible. Returning to her life will help her to find a meaning and purpose again as she heals. According to Tina B. Tessina, psychotherapist and licensed marriage and family therapist, your daughter is also learning essential life skills as she recovers from this heartbreak. She will apply these lessons to future relationships, as well as to other setbacks she may encounter.
Pay Attention to Signs of Depression
If your teen does not seem to be bouncing back with time, or if she is making statements which have you concerned she may inflict harm upon herself or others, do not hesitate to seek the help of a professional. A teen’s judgment can be compromised during times of emotional turmoil, and it is possible threats of self-harm may be cries for help. Don’t be afraid to talk to your daughter about what she may be feeling if you fear she is heading to a dark place. Get a therapist involved if you truly fear for her safety.