7 Ways to Help Your Teen Heal from a Broken Heart
Do you remember which song you had on repeat when you were grieving over your first heart break? Was it one song or a whole album? Lollol! Ugh! Heart breaks are the worst! How do you help your teen in one of the most challenging times of their teen life and still feel sane?
Now I know most adults would throw themselves out of any room and screech their car down the street once ONE emotional teen walks through the door but if we don’t address their heart issues then someone else will.
That person will have access to their heart, their mind, and eventually whatever else they want.
We are called as parents or anyone who has a teen in their life to be what they need in these moments. These are the moments that count. These are the moments that will either affirm or deny your love for them in their world.
They want to be noticed and they want to know someone cares.
What if I already messed up?
You may be reading this and thinking to yourself, “Man, I really messed this one up. I completely ignore my teen and XYZ happened or is happening.” The key here is to communicate your mistake to them. Apologize for it and move in a healthy direction to help them through this time.
We all go through stuff and have gone through stuff especially with heart break. Isn’t it easier when people help guide you through it? Help support you? I’m sure we all have that one person we turn to during these times. Teenagers are no different. They need someone and that someone can be you.
The advantage to have gone through this stage is we have the gift of knowledge and understanding we can pass down to our teens.
There is life on the other side of this tunnel of grief. However, if we don’t help teens realize this then often times they will never know that life does go on. This lie seeks to isolate our teens and most often has dire consequences.
Here are some steps to help you and your beloved teen along with this journey:
1) Acknowledge it-
There’s nothing worse than walking around your house bleeding and no one cares to notice. Adults tend to think that by ignoring the issue tihs will help it go away when in actuality it will stay around longer if not addressed.
The enemy would love nothing more than to isolate your teen with their feelings with no truth to help separate fact from fiction.
Lie: “They don’t love you. No one will ever love you.”
Truth: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Explain: Even if they feel like no one in the whole world loves them then they must know there is a God in heaven Who does. This must be their foundation and biblical truth for life.
If you don’t acknowledge their hurt, speak truth to their life, then they are left to their own devices and there has been so much tragedy in this.
What if they don’t believe in Jesus Christ?
Still speak God’s truth to them. We never know what kind of spiritual seeds we are planting. God’s truth is ALWAYS God’s truth.
“It is the same with my word. I will send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” (Isa. 55:11)
Acknowledge the hurt, talk about it, and help them heal. For tips on how to talk to your teen, click here.
2) Affirm their feelings-
I remember I had a friend tell their sibling they weren’t in love when their sibling had just finished telling them they were. One thing we don’t want to do is deny their feelings. It’s so easy from our end to say, “You don’t know what love is!” or “It’s just puppy love!” However, it’s denying what they feel which is true to them in that moment.
It is not our job to tell them how to feel but it is part of our job to help them process those feelings they do have.
By denying their feelings, we are reinforcing feelings of being misunderstood.
Teens need to feel understood and it’s okay to be in that heartbroken space with them. Affirm their feelings, apologize for the heart break they are going through, and proceed with wisdom.
3) Let them talk about it-
Sometimes we just want them to forget about it and move on because it’s easy, for us. How many times has that helped us when we were grieving? Heartbreak is a hard process to go through and we never know what kind of dance it will have us performing.
Part of healing is talking, so let them.
Help them process what they are feeling by listening to what they are saying.
Combat lies with truth, encourage, give suggestions, pray, and wash them with scripture. We will only know what’s going on in their mind but listening to them talk. If we silence them every time they open their mouth, we are not acknowledging them or affirming. We are simply ignoring.
4) Distract them-
There is balance in this process too which of course calls for God’s wisdom. We want to affirm, acknowledge, let them talk it out, but we also want to make sure it doesn’t become their WHOLE world because it is not healthy.
How do I know when to step in?
If you find them listening to the same album 30 times in the last 24 hours, are completely obsessing over it by circling conversation when you’ve provided sound advice, won’t stop calling or trying to get in touch with their ex, take action.
Shut off the music, take away their phone, open the curtains, let fresh air in, and change their environment. Ask them to take a walk with you outside, take them to go get some ice cream, or go watch a funny movie.
The point is to get them out of this heartbroken world and get them focused on something else.
They may fight you on it or scream that you don’t understand. However, you are still the parent and authority in their life. Calmly remind them of their place, your love for them, but also your responsibility over their overall health including mental.
Sometimes a strong word will help bring them back into focus as long as it is done with love and respect.
Distraction is important in showing them how there is life outside of their circumstances. There are still good things even though their heart is breaking. Help them think about the future by dreaming and setting goals. Click here to learn how to help them rock out some goals this year.
5) Let them cry-
Just a heads up, you may end up taking that walk, eating that ice cream, or watching that movie when out of nowhere tears start to well up in their eyes.
Let them cry!
Be proactive and bring tissues with you. Remember, this is a grieving process and everything may seem fine one second and the next second they are sobbing on your lap. It’s okay! I rather they cry than a numb emotionless teen anyway because it means they are processing and healing.
Healing doesn’t always look pretty but it’s so necessary.
Again, there is always a healthy balance we will look for. If your teen has been crying for days on end, this is not healthy. Go back to praying, washing them in the word, and distraction. Ask your community to help you pray because sometimes it can feel too much.
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:16)
One thing we have and can be assured of, is access to the heavenly authorities. God WILL supply everything we need. Just ask.
6) Pray for them-
There is power in prayer! The beautiful mystery behind the power of prayer always leaves me in awe but shows true in many circumstances.
The reality is we are fighting an enemy who wants our teenagers and the younger generation taken out.
We are called not just as parents but also as co-heirs in Christ, warriors for our brothers and sisters in Christ (yes this includes our teens and the younger generation), and as God’s ambassadors to fight in the spiritual realm.
Prayer is our weapon. Use it consistently and confidently!
I have witnessed dozens of teens over the years be set free from addictions, past hurts, sexual sin, cutting, suicidal thoughts, and many other issues that plague our teens and the younger generation today through prayer.
Prayer is vital not just for broken hearts but for any type of brokenness.
Pray! Pray! Pray some more!
7) Remind them of who they are-
Broken hearts are a blow to one’s pride and identity. Teens can make the other person their world and when their world is no longer there they feel incomplete and empty. They question their self-worth, appearance, and who they are. It is here we must remind them of God’s truth.
Their identity comes first in Christ.
This is easier for those teens who do have a relationship with Christ. However, if your teen does not have a relationship with Christ don’t be afraid to point them to Him.
“From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” (Psalm 61:2)
Our job, not just as parents or whatever title you hold in a teen’s life, is to point them to Jesus Christ. There they will find new life, new hope, strength, and purpose. As a youth leader, I remember when I would try to use my own “wisdom” to help teens deal with issues only to realize the only words that hold significant life changing weight are the ones found in the bible.
So, remind them of who they are and WHOSE they are.
I pray these steps can help you in supporting your teen overcome a broken heart. Broken hearts are no fun for anyone but it is a time where you and your teen can connect or reconnect both with each other and with God. Pour your love into them and even when it feels as if you’re running on empty remember your God will supply all your needs.
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philip. 4:19)
Baskets of Blessings,
Besides loving Jesus, coffee, great books, and the Autumn season. I am a wife to an amazing man of God, a stay-at-home-Mommy to 3 beautiful girls, one who is an amazing teenager. I have volunteered at my church’s Youth Group working with teens from 7th-12th grade for the past 11 years and have recently transitioned out to work on my online ministry. I have an Associate’s in Criminal Justice, a Bachelor’s in Psychology, and currently working on my Master’s in Religion.