Surviving a teen break up

Apparently, my choice in outfit for the day is atrocious. Yes, that’s what my daughter has informed me. What was I thinking? I’m not sure what I was thinking when I put it on, but I can tell you what I’m thinking now. I’m thinking….”how do parents survive teen break ups?”

One way, is they choose better outfits. The other is that they brace for the grumpiness or moping that inevitably lies ahead. As a mother who has lived through two teen break ups, I can tell you that WHATEVER you say or do will be wrong. Whether you give sympathy, empathy or encouragement you don’t know what you are talking about. Whatever advice a teenage friend who has never had a boyfriend says makes much more sense than a wise parent with years of relationship experience. Just know that and you can save yourself wasted breath and clothing admonishment.

My other piece of advice for surviving a teen break up: Don’t ask questions. If you slip up and forget this piece of advice, get ready for shrugs and possibly even the cold shoulder. Oh, and don’t even try to get near  your teen’s cell phone, the center of activity post break up. The device will be guarded like a limb, just in case a parent like you wants to gather some intelligence. An extra layer of password protection likely will be added. 

Remember your first break up? This will be much more painful, regardless of whether you are the parent of a breakupper or breakee. The moodiness will go on for a least a week. And then, you will suddenly regain your ability to dress yourself to their satisfaction, or be considered somewhat less annoying. You will know you have reached this stage when you receive a text. It likely will be room-to-room communication and it may be a request for money but, hey, it’s communication. You will take whatever small, somewhat upbeat communication as a sign that your pre-break up teen is back and you are no longer an ogre. Then, only then, will you consider yourself a survivor!


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  1. GG December 17, 2013 at 5:42 am

    Teens are hard, their hormones are up and down. I do appreciate their honesty, sometimes.

  2. Leslie Bogar January 8, 2014 at 4:09 am

    Helping your child navigate a breakup takes great listening skills. Be prepared to shut your mouth. Advice is not wanted at this point in time. Just listen and listen well. As adults, it’s easy for us to phase out while listening, but this will hurt the relationship in the long run. Listen to key points in order to address them at a later date. Your child in struggling with a loss and will process through the cycle of grief. Yes, grief. Walk through this with them and don’t belittle the experience because of their age.


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