By Carol Rood
My oldest bio kid is a moody person. He alternates between sullen, annoyed and morose. Every now and then, we have a rare glimpse of a smile. Although I will say his mood has improved as he has gotten a little older. He just graduated high school, and he seems happier. A little…
I was recently thinking about the times in his teen years when he has been at his mopiest, and every time his dark mood has somehow involved a girl. Usually it is the worst right after a girl breaks up with him. Which seems to always be how his relationships end. I don’t think he has ever broken up with a girl, he always seems to be the one who is dumped.
So I wondered why he is always the dumpee and not the dumper. Surely I talked to him about relationships. I know I did. When he would let me. I did my best to teach him how to be kind and compassionate. To respect the boundaries of his partner, to be respectful, and try to give 50/50 in a relationship. Of course I can talk and talk, but he will only take in what he wants to take in.
And I will say that I have seen improvement in his interactions with females. His girlfriends seem happier with him with each new girl he dates. I think maybe he is learning how to be a better boyfriend with each new relationship. Three girls ago he would have her visit at our house and he would proceed to play PS3 games she had no interest in while she just sat there. That relationship didn’t last too long. Hmm, I wonder why not?
The next one didn’t last too long either (thank goodness). I was happy to see her go because she just made me uncomfortable. She was a little too “touchy feely”, in my opinion and many times when I was making my “check ups” I would find her laying down on the couch with her head in his lap. Maybe not so bad, but they were 16 and 15…a little young for that in my opinion. She moved on pretty quickly, I guess I made to many “checks” when they were at my house…not sure…
I really liked the next girl. She came into our house to visit and interacted with the family in a friendly, open manner. She actually spoke to the grownups, and interacted with my younger son as well. She was funny, she was smart, she was very pretty, but alas she didn’t last that long either. They dated for about 6 months. A mutual friend of theirs told me that she broke up with him because she was ready to move into more “adult” physical relations and my son wasn’t…whew…dodged that bullet…for now at least.
So, how should parents deal with teenage heartbreak?
So over the years I have had to deal with teenaged relationships and the heartbreak that follows when they end. My advice to parents dealing with this is to give the kid a day or so, and then cautiously approach them……in the same manner you would approach a wounded animal……softly, slowly and calmly.
I never said anything about more “fish in the sea” or how his feelings “weren’t real”. I have always believed that teenage love feelings are just as strong as adult love feelings. They aren’t as mature as adult feelings, but they are definitely just as strong, if not stronger with those raging hormones and all…..
My lines after my kid’s heartbreaks have been things like, “why don’t you hang out with your squad instead”, and even “give it some time and it will get better.” He usually perks up…a bit. Especially when I point out all of his cool points and remind him that “karma is a bitch”, and one day he would be on top of the world and the girl might not.
I always tried to explain to him that his feelings are valid and that yes it sucks, but in time he will feel better. I have encouraged him to invite friends over to play video games and have promised to feed them pizza and brownies. I have tried to keep him busy to keep his mind off of his broken heart, and it works at times. Sometimes he still feels great pain for awhile. Each break up is a little different for him, as he matures and gets closer to adulthood.
I remember being a teenager and all of the drama, angst and difficulty it brought. I remember having my heart broken. I remember being in love. I am one of those adults who believes teens can love each other and be in love. Granted it may not be a mature love, but I believe it is love nonetheless. Think about it those of you who are naysayers….your teen knows how to love you, and family members. So they know how to love. Why can’t they have those same deep feelings for a boyfriend or girlfriend their own age?????
I shared with him the story of my “first love” and how that boy had broken my heart and dumped me for a girl named Jill. I told him how I had my “revenge” after I graduated when I ran into First Love Boy and he wanted to date me again. I had the karmic joy of telling him, “dream on buddy.” That felt good. (He liked that story, he even had a little gleam in his eye.) His response was, “Yeah, when I am an Aerospace Engineer making the big bucks, she will be sorry.”
The bottom line is that teenage heartbreak and young adult heartbreak are very real to our kids, and we should not discount it. Just allow them to feel their feelings, and encourage and love them the best way you can.
This too shall pass…