Raising Daughters

How to Help Your 13-Year-Old Handle a Broken Heart

Encourage your daughter to talk about her feelings. She might not feel up to talking about it at first, or know how or where to begin, but as the KidsHealth website points out, broken-hearted teens who share their feelings with someone they trust usually end up feeling a lot better afterward. Use guided questions to facilitate conversation and help your teen open up -- instead of simply asking her if she wants to talk about it, for example, say something along the lines of, “I’m sorry things didn’t work out between you and Craig. It’s disappointing, isn’t it?” If she isn’t ready to talk, don’t push her. Simply remind her that you’re here when she’s ready. When she does open up, keep the focus on her -- avoid relating her experiences to your own.

Let her know that it’s OK to cry. Releasing those raw emotions can be therapeutic for her, and a good cry can help her to feel relieved or better afterward. Be supportive and ready to lend her your shoulder, give her a hug or hand her a clean tissue. Don’t force it -- if she needs time alone, let her have it. Just check in every once in awhile.

Boost her self-esteem by reminding her about all of her wonderful qualities, traits and talents. Remind her that in time, she will find someone new, and probably, better.

Encourage her to keep busy to help her take her mind off her broken heart. Engage her in activities that she enjoys, recruit her help with shopping or other light errands and encourage her to spend time with friends who can provide additional support. Tackle a hobby, project or new interest together.

The Best Ways to Help Your Daughter Through Heartbreak

Listen

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.

Teen Girls Dealing With Difficult Friends

Talk to your teenage daughter about the difficulties she is experiencing with her friend. Are there common sources of arguments in the relationship, like rivalries over grades or boys? If your daughter is at odds with a friend over interests and how to spend time, they may have outgrown each other, according to the Center for Young Women's Health, a teen resource from Boston Children's Hospital. In that case, it may be best to end the friendship.

Encourage your daughter to think about what is happening in a difficult friend's life. Is the friend depressed over a death in the family, angry about a recent breakup, or grieving about something else? Rather than avoid a difficult friend, your daughter may benefit from encouraging her friend to seek professional help, according to Dr. Frederic Reamer, a professor of social work at Rhode Island College. This may lead to a more laid-back friendship in the future.

Suggest that your daughter have a talk with her difficult friend. While your teenager may think she knows why a friend is upset, only her friend can say for sure. Keeping calm is important during this discussion. Your daughter might say, "I've noticed that you turn down my ideas when we work on projects together. Did I do something to upset you?" If an offense was made, your daughter should apologize and agree to avoid making a similar mistake in the future, according to TeensHealth, part of the KidsHealth.org child-development site.

Help your daughter work on a solution, rather than seeking revenge. While your daughter may want to behave in a difficult manner to give a friend a taste of her own medicine, it will likely backfire. Encourage your teenager to behave in the way she wants to be treated by others. Remind your daughter often that she cannot control a friend's behavior -- only her own reaction to it.

Teach your daughter to set boundaries with a friend. Some difficult friends may frequently fight with others. If a difficult friend draws your daughter into such a situation, she may be better off saying, "We will talk about this tomorrow when we have cooled down," according to the Center for Young Women's Health. Not only will showing others how she expects to be treated earn your daughter some respect, but setting boundaries can make fights dull for difficult people.

Tip

Never criticize your teen's friends. This can cause fights between you and your daughter, warns the New York University Child Study Center. If a friend's behavior concerns you, you might say, "I've noticed that Jill frequently calls you names when she visits." This can give your teen an opening to talk about a difficult friend in a safe atmosphere.

My 9-Year-Old Daughter Is Having Problems Getting Along With Her Friends

Talk to your daughter about the problems she is having with her friends. Do these problems frequently involve the same issues? If your daughter and her friends fight about their interests, hobbies, other friends or beliefs, the conflict may be because the girls have grown apart, according to KidsHealth.org, a child-development website. In that case, your daughter may be better off looking for friendship with people whose interests more closely match hers.

Encourage your daughter to calmly approach her friends to figure out a solution. Rather than arguing or throwing accusations at a friend, she may get better results by saying, "I feel hurt when you call me names, because I don't know why we can't be nice to each other," according to It's My Life, a website from PBS Kids. If the conversation gets heated, your daughter can say, "I think we should talk about this later when we calm down," and then walk away.

Approach the other child's parents if discussion alone is not enough to help the children get along. There may be another side to the story. Keep calm and stick to the facts you know when discussing these problems. Parents should be respectful and avoid criticizing the other children, the American Academy of Pediatrics warns. Ask what the other parents know to get to the bottom of the problem.

Advise your daughter to apologize if she has done something to hurt or offend her friends. Her apology should be sincere and reflect a desire to change her behavior in the future, according to KidsHealth.org. Your daughter might say to her friends, "I'm sorry that I called you a name the other day. It was wrong and I don't feel good about it. If I'm upset about something in the future, I'll talk to you instead of saying mean things." This resolution may be enough to help your daughter and her friends enjoy the time they spend with one another again.

How to Tell If Your Teen Daughter Is Stealing

Look around the next time you're in her room. Resist the temptation to search the room -- you want to respect her privacy. Just look around. If she's brave enough to steal, she might be careless enough to leave pilfered items lying around. Notice any new objects that don't belong and that you haven't bought. Don't assume they're stolen -- they could have been borrowed from a friend -- but do ask where they came from.

Inspect your daughter's choice of clothing. For example, say she's been obsessed with certain brands but you couldn't afford them and suddenly, she starts wearing those brands. Although borrowing clothes from friends is a possibility, that's likely an occasional incident, not a consistent occurrence.

Pay attention to your daughter's attire when she leaves home. If she's carrying baggy jackets even though the weather is warm, he might be using that to conceal stolen items. The same is true of a teenager who leaves the house with an empty backpack and returns with one that looks full and heavy.

Ask friends and relatives if they're missing any property or money. Stealing doesn't always happen at stores. Some teens could be stealing from family or friends. Small amounts of money are a lot easier to snatch from the purse of an unsuspecting parent or aunt than from a stranger.

Look for the appearance of items you don't approve of. If you don't want your daughter to wear makeup yet and she suddenly owns mascara or lip gloss, ask where she got it. Look for provocative clothing, banned music or anything she might be stealing because you refuse to buy it for her.