Helping Your Child Deal With Heartbreak
Your child is positive she’s in love. She giggles at the sound of his name and doodles hearts all over her notebooks. You’re not sure if the object of her obsession is aware of this role in her daydream, but to her, it doesn’t matter. When her love is not returned, her world is shattered. Learn how to help your child navigate through her sadness when it’s time to get over her first (or second or third) crush.
Validate Your Child’s Feelings
Although the crush may seem frivolous to you, it’s anything but to your child. Downplaying her feelings will do little to ease her pain. Instead, acknowledge the sadness that she’s experiencing and offer your support. Giving her a hug and listening to her talk through her feelings can go a long way. Let your child know that having a crush is common, and that unfortunately, sometimes it doesn’t end the way we planned in our mind. You may even have experiences of your own that you can share so she understands she’s not alone.
Build That Confidence Back Up
Your child may express that he feels “so dumb” for even thinking that his crush liked him. Or, he may express feelings of worthlessness and wonder if anyone will ever be interested in him. Help ease his worries by reminding him of what an amazing person he is. It may help to talk about the friends your child has; his good qualities, including kindness and empathy; and about his many strengths, such as being a math pro and a good teammate. Reassure your child that he is loved and that this heartbreak is just a temporary hiccup.
Keep the Lesson in Mind
Crushes are an opportunity for children to begin learning about love and relationships. They often are their first experience with having feelings for someone they really like. When you’re helping your child get over a crush, she may be ready at some point to reflect on what she’s learning about love. Crushes are helping her discover the qualities she likes in other people, as well as the qualities she isn’t wild about. Your child’s own heartbreak also may help her be sensitive toward someone who’s interested in her if she doesn’t return the feeling.
Whether it’s your child’s first crush or his fifth, heartbreak can sting. Even if the hurt feelings dissipate quickly, their initial force can turn your child into an emotional nightmare. A little patience and sensitivity can help your child get back on his feet and ready for the next crush.