Helping Your Child Through Breakups

Helping Your Child Through Breakups. Episode #18 - Raising Kids Who Can Cope

Episode #18 in the “Raising Kids Who Can Cope” Series

Click arrow to listen to the 90-second podcast.

We all want to raise kids who are emotionally and socially intelligent and are able to recover from disappointment to grow stronger every day into adulthood

Breakups can be difficult for teenagers. Whether it’s breaking up with a first love or the drifting apart of childhood friends the ending of a relationship can be a traumatic time for male and female teens.  It can be tricky sometimes to know the difference between what we think our children want and what they actually need during these difficult situations. When our child is hurting from a breakup we instinctively want to help them and make them feel better.

Talking is one of the best medicines for a broken heart.  Emphasizing with our teens and letting them know we’re there to talk about the breakup when they’re ready is a great way to show love and support.  We shouldn’t force teens into talking about their breakup.  They might not be ready to talk or would rather talk to their friends. If they do decide to talk to us it’s important to listen and show empathy.

Writing can also be a good outlet for teens to express their pain.  That means writing in a journal or diary not all over social media.  Telling them not to put their whole heart out on the internet is good advice to give anyone.  Remind them that the things they say on the internet can be seen by more than just their friends and what they say could make them look bad and can’t truly be taken back once on the internet.

Finally, telling teens “get over it”, or “you two were never going to work out anyways” may seem to us like helping but doesn’t show empathy. On the other had we don’t want to get wrapped up in our child’s emotions and badmouth their ex. Instead we should model our behavior by choosing the words we use to talk about their ex carefully and talking about how we understand breakups can be very painful and our own experiences with them.

Raising Kids Who Can Cope is a 28-part series developed to build skills, knowledge and awareness in adults who play a role in young people’s lives. It is brought to you by Jackson County UW-Extension and Together for Jackson County Kids. Find out more at Raising Kids Who Can Cope.


Ginsburg, K. R. (2011). Building Resiliency in Children and Teens. Grove Village IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.

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