Teen Breakup: Common Reasons And Ways To Deal With It

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IN THIS ARTICLE

As adults, we may not consider teenage relationships as serious.. Hence, we can ignore or minimize the effects of teenage breakups and deny them the rightful attention. When a relationship ends in ways that were not expected, it can cause immense emotional stress, even among teens. The effects of a breakup may even be compounded by teenage-related factors, such as less experience with life and dealing with emotions and lack of self regulation skills.

This article will help you understand the different ways in which you can help your teenager deal with a breakup. We list common reasons that result in teenage breakups and some teenage breakup advice.

Common Reasons For Teenage Breakups

There are multiple reasons teenagers decide to break up. Here are a few common ones.

1. Emotional immaturity

Breakup can lead to emotional distress in teens

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Teenagers are not children anymore yet still lack the emotional intelligence of an adult. They may call off a relationship due to petty reasons leading to emotional distress.

2. Deception

Cheating or being attracted to another person while in a relationship is often a common reason for a teen breakup. At this age, infatuation can instantly flip your feelings, and the person you are dating may no longer be attractive.

3. Lack of space

Some teenagers tend to be more obsessive about their relationships. They may feel that they can never find a better partner and become clingy. This may make their partner feel suffocated and could lead to a breakup.

4. Peer pressure

Peer pressure is often at its peak during the teenage years. If a teenager’s friends don’t approve of the person they are in a relationship with, it could be a valid reason for them to discontinue their relationship.

5. Lack of self-control

Sometimes teenagers don’t have a clear vision of their boundaries and may surpass them unintentionally. One of the two teens could be either too obsessive, over-enthusiastic, or may not understand how uncomfortable public display of affection can be for the other.

6. Ineffective communication

Teenagers are still too young to reach the emotional maturity required to build a healthy and long-lasting relationship. Communication is the key for a relationship to last. Even though teens may talk a lot, their communication quality and maturity levels may not be up to the mark.

7. Stress

Stress takes toll on relationship

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Stress can be mental, emotional, and physical and is valid to break up. Teenagers have a lot going on in their lives. It is the time when their courses at school get heavier, peer pressure is at its peak, and so much more. It can eventually take a toll on their relationship.

Ways To Help Your Teen Deal With A Breakup

Going through a breakup as a teenager can be hard emotionally, and the teen may feel like there is no hope in life. But as adults and as parents, you need to tell them that it is not the case. Here are a few things you can do as a parent to help your teen deal with a breakup.

1. Acknowledge their emotions

Allow your teen to express themselves

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Adults often disregard teenage breakups as unimportant or funny. But it is very important to validate your teenager’s feelings and allow them to express themselves comfortably. It takes courage to open up about one’s feelings, and you should not make them uncomfortable to do so.

2. Pay attention to them

Lend a good ear to your teen when they speak about their emotional distress. Let them be more communicative and support them while they do so. At this point, your teenager needs you to be more focused on fulfilling their needs emotionally and mentally.

3. Learn how to tackle tantrums

When a teenager is going through a breakup, they may face unreasonable mood swings, which may cause disturbance to the people around them as well. This roller coaster ride requires patience and a mature approach.

4. Motivate them to follow their schedule

To bring your teen back on track, they need to fall back into their regular routine. They might need a little push from your side to attain that, and the process could take some time. Constant encouragement and motivation are the keys to achieving this, and eventually, it will all fall into place.

5. Keep them engaged

Playing a sport with your teen can keep them engaged

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It is very important to keep your teen occupied to distract them from the emotional stress they are going through. Playing a sport or a board game together as a family is a great way to keep the teen’s mind engaged while also providing emotional support.

6. Be a good listener

Most often, it so happens that all we need is for someone to listen to us. Just listening to your teen without coming up with solutions or offering guidance can work well for them. Listening to your teen will make them feel relieved and eventually help them clear their thoughts.

7. Be their confidant

As parents, we forget that our role is not only to provide for our children but also to be their friend, a person they can confide in at any point. When things go south, you must be the first person to know, and to foster that sort of relationship, your child needs to trust you.

8. Support their decisions

If your teen chooses a certain way to move on from a breakup, you must support them. We all have different ways to overcome failure and heartbreaks, and so does your child. So give them the space to choose their method.

9. Allow them to rant or vent it out

Having “rant sessions” is so underrated. It is, for real, among the most effective ways to lighten up your heart and eventually feel better. Most of the issues can be dealt with just by opening up and accepting them, and you need to let your teen know the same.

10. Give them space

Allow your teenager to heal in the space that they need. Let them have the privacy that should be given to children of their age. Not doing so may make your relationship with them bitter, and they may feel suffocated.

11. Let them discuss it with friends

Allow them to open up to friends about their breakup

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Talking to a friend helps to a great extent. If your teenager feels like they would feel better if they spoke to a friend about their breakup, allow them to. You need to give them time and allow them to choose what they have to do as long as they cause no harm.

12. Allow them to do their favorite things

It could be any type of hobby that interests them, such as art and craft, singing, baking, or anything else that they do solely for fun. Doing things they enjoy will help improve their mood and keep them distracted for a while.

13. Don’t minimize the magnitude of the issue

Never underestimate the seriousness of the emotional trauma your teen must be going through. Just because they are younger or only their first breakup, it does not mean that they weren’t hurt the way adults are post-breakup.

14. Be sympathetic

You need to show that you are sorry about what happened and that you understand how much they must be putting up with right now. Being unsympathetic will only strain your relationship with your teen, and they will never feel like sharing anything with you in the future.

15. Be there for them

The first breakup can have a deep impact on your teen, and you need to help them understand that it’s not going to be the same every time. In any case, you need to assure them you are there for them, and they can always speak to you when they feel emotionally low or need some advice.

16. Seek professional help, if required

Lastly, if you ever feel like you are not able to provide the kind of help and guidance that your teenager requires, consider seeking support from professionals such as counselors, and other mental healthcare providers. We often do not understand the gravity of pain it may have caused to our teen, and professional help may be needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What percentage of teenage relationships break up?

According to research conducted by Pew Research Center, United States, in 2015, about 35% of teens were in relationships, while only 18% of these relationships lasted (1).

2. Do teenage relationships last forever?

It might not always be possible to determine how long a teen relationship will last. Nevertheless, research indicates that the probability of a teenage relationship lasting forever is very unlikely since teenagers are still developing emotional maturity (2).

3. How long does it take to recover from a teen breakup?

There isn’t a specific time of recovery from any breakups, including for teens. While it may take a few days to weeks for some teens to move on, it may take months for others. In any case, It is okay to take time to recover from a breakup.

4. What are the five stages of a breakup?

Be it any relationship, including for teens, the five stages of a breakup are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance (3).

5. How do breakups affect teens?

Teenage breakups are linked to several concerns, including depression, academic difficulties, self-harm, and suicide attempts. The breakup may also cause overwhelming pain and sorrow attributed to disappointment, rejection, cheating, or love failure (4).

Teenage breakups come with several challenges. They are at the age where they have to cope with emotional stress and the fact that they have to face judgments from peers. However, whatever may be the reason for the breakup, there is always hope for life to get better and return to normal once again.

Infographic: Talking To A Broken-Hearted Teen Mindfully

Dealing with a breakup can be difficult for a teenager. Separation from the one they loved with their whole heart can make them feel agitated, angry, sad, and extremely sensitive. Mindful talking ensures you don’t rub off their wounds. Besides, it can help them embrace their breakup and be hopeful for the future. The following infographic provides ways to ensure mindful talking through things to say and not say to a teen who has experienced a breakup.

what to say and not say to a heartbroken teenager [infographic]
Illustration: MomJunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Teenage breakups may not seem significant to adults but can cause a significant emotional impact on the teen.
  • Emotional immaturity and ineffective communication are some of the reasons behind teen breakups.
  • Acknowledgment of emotions and listening to the teen’s thoughts are ways parents can help them out during this challenging phase.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Amanda Lenhart et al.; (2015); Chapter 1: Basics of Teen Romantic Relationships.
    https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2015/10/01/basics-of-teen-romantic-relationships/
  2. Seirra Lowden; The Distraction of a Relation in High School.
    https://www.academia.edu/31202916/RSRCH
  3. Stages of Grief After a Breakup.
    https://www.csn.edu/_csnmedia/documents/caps-counseling-and-psychological-services/stages_of_grief_after_a_breakup_0.pdf
  4. Merry Leigh Dameron and Russ Curtis; Hope for the Hurting: Strategies for School Counselors Working With Heartbroken Students.
    http://www.jsc.montana.edu/articles/v18n4.pdf
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Manjari Srivastava

Manjari Srivastava is a graduate of psychology. She also holds certificates in Basics In Clinical Psychology and Identifying Early Signs Of Psychosis In Adolescents And Young Adults.  Previously, she volunteered with an NGO specializing in positive psychology, where she took up individual counseling sessions for students. She also taught English to underprivileged children and helped them with their studies. At MomJunction,...
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Angela Karanja

(Msc Applied Psychology)
Angela Karanja is a psychologist specializing with parents of teenagers and teenagers. She helps parents raise mentally healthy teenagers - this includes helping educators and parents become confident and competent leaders and influencers to teenagers.  For over 20 years, Angela has worked directly with teenagers empowering them to recognize their uniqueness and utilize their brain and body power to take...
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