Teenagers haven’t yet learned how resilient the heart is.The first time they experience romantic rejection, the sadness can seem bottomless.At what age are children old enough to date “solo”? “There’s an enormous difference between a fourteen- or fifteen-year- old and a sixteen- or seventeen-year-old in terms of life experience,” he says. While parent-teen conversations must encompass the hormones, hydraulics and other biological aspects of love and attraction, equal time should be devoted to thoughtful discussions about love as the most powerful and heartfelt of all human emotions.You might add or subtract a year depending on how mature and responsible your youngster is. Love is a subject of unending fascination for adolescents.Moms and dads can aid the healing process by being generous with their time, patience and hugs.A little extra sensitivity helps, too, for in this situation, knowing what not to say is as important as choosing the right words.
“Breakups are one of the major precipitators of suicidal gestures in young people,” says Dr. The vast majority of kids, though, will get over their hurt and be fine.
It will probably be some time before he abandons the hope that she’ll realize her mistake and come crawling back. However, blues that linger for more than a few weeks may warrant professional counseling.
Remember, too, that teen relationships on the wane frequently flicker on again. Encourage him to get together with friends—but don’t nag.
When he’s ready to socialize, he’ll do so without any prompting. “My first year in college, I fell madly in love with this girl named Elyse. I couldn’t imagine ever being with anyone else, and I thought she felt the same way about me. I used to spy on her around campus; some nights I’d stand outside her dorm just to see if she walked in the front door with anybody.
“One day, out of the blue, she told me that our relationship was getting too serious, and that she wanted to date other people. My friends couldn’t stand to be around me, and I don’t blame them!