Sitting back and watching children learn hard lessons has never been easy. Humans protect and love our offspring — but how can guardians protect them from heart-wrecking love? Realistically, guardians can’t protect their kids from it. They can only attempt to pick up the pieces in the aftermath.
Kids can be naturally moody; their bodies are changing, their friends have suddenly become romantic interests, and they must start considering college or other options. This is all to say there are many reasons your child could be moody or edgy lately. It’s best not to assume a break-up happened immediately, but it’s not a bad idea if they have been moody for days or weeks.
The rise of phones and the internet has meant unsupervised communications. However, phones and Facebook aren’t the only ways kids converse these days; now, they have everything from game consoles to communication software that they can use. If you suspect your child is in a break-up, consider using an online username search to find more information. Additionally, ensure that you are up to date on every danger the internet has by looking at a digital guide to parenting.
Growing kids eat a lot of food — when a tween or male teen stops eating, this can reflect other issues. At the same time, we should note that stress and coping mechanisms are wide-ranging. The child going through a break-up with a family that centers heavily around food may turn to binge eating. In contrast, a child from a different type of family may more accurately reflect the loss of appetite symptom.
Children go through many phases in their youth — some of them can be seen as depressive or emotional. A previously happy child becoming unusually distant for a few days isn’t cause for alarm; the child who remains depressed for two or more months should raise guardians’ questions.
Not every student excels in school, but the ones that do, run the chance of their grades dropping after a heartbreak. Adults who have felt heartbreak would find this understandable; loss of concentration, let alone the loss of caring, would be powerful side effects for anyone to contend with. At the same time, children who have lost interest in hobbies they previously obsessed over may also benefit from questioning.
When your child is ready to talk about the situation, it is critical to let them vent. In these moments, guardians are emotional support, not anything else. Attempting to offer advice in these moments is likely to end with frustration; this is because the guardian is trying to “fix the problem,” but the child feels the guardians aren’t listening. Giving advice will come later; for now, listen to them.
Guardians must demonstrate they care for their child; this means interacting in the conversation—doing more than giving vague questions and mixing up names. This advice does not imply a guardian should try to relate with their child at this moment. Attempts to connect in moments like this destroy the entire point of being their emotional support; this is why we see teenagers say, “they don’t understand us.”
Suppose your child is unsure about how to proceed by the end of the conversation, then present advice. If your child has already made their choices, by the end of the conversation, do not present advice. Guardians should only advise in moments like this when directly asked; because the child is old enough to have complex emotional intelligence — they should choose how to progress themselves.
Do not have this discussion during or immediately after having the conversation above. Doing so will only result in anger like “why do you have to make everything a lesson?” Instead, table this conversation for the preceding days. Additionally, this will give you more time to consider your advice further; if you didn’t provide it during the conversation, you should give it now.
Love can be obsessive for every human, but it seems most intensely felt during our teen years. Routines mold to a partner, and once that stops, it can be tough to find a new direction. Guardians can ease this dramatic change by helping them find a new routine — hopefully, one filled with hobbies and interests.
Anyone who has gone through an emotionally trying break-up knows that time helps to heal. Although watching our children hurt is never easy — the best thing guardians can do, is not to offer advice but listen.
Author Bio: Ben is a Web Operations Executive at InfoTracer who takes a wide view from the whole system. He authors guides on entire security posture, both physical and cyber.
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