Parenting & Family Life

Parenting Teens: How to Help them Survive a Break-up with their Best Friend

Has your teen had the same best friend since you they in grade school? If so, you realize they’ve probably shared more with them than with nearly anyone else. They know each others faults and fears. If that all-important relationship changed as your child became a teen, you’ll want to be there to help your child know how to survive a break-up with their best friend.

Some friendships seem to stand the tests of time. Others aren’t so lucky. What may have seemed inconsequential in the past has become very hurtful. Your teen may realize the friend she once had has changed, or maybe you’re teen is the one who changed. No matter the reason why, the following ideas will help your teen move on after they have to say goodbye to their best friend.

It’s important to acknowledge their pain. Friendships can be as emotionally overwhelming as romantic relationships. And, if they break up with their best friend, they’re going to grieve. Your teen may actually go through similar stages of grief as someone who has lost a loved one to death because that’s basically what has happened – the friendship has died. Allow them to grieve. The old saying is true – time does heal all wounds.

Encourage your teen to spend time with family after a break-up. The need to know their family loves them for who they are and will stand by them. It’s not unusual to want to be alone after a relationship ends, but let them know their family will understand and know when to pull your teen into activities and when to leave your teen alone.

Help your teen take time to write out their feelings. Journaling can be very therapeutic. Encourage them to write down what they’ve learned about themselves through the friendship, how they can view life differently and brainstorm about what what they can do differently. Teach them that getting the feelings out will help them feel at least a little bit better.

Help your teen understand it’s important not to blame themselves for the break-up. It is a rare relationship that is ruined entirely by one person. Chances are both part played a part in how the friendship changed and therefore they are probably equally at fault for the break-up. Help your teen to forgive the other party, as well as themselves, and try to move on.

In many cases a friend can keep you from doing some of the things you like. Now is the perfect time for your teen to focus on their own interests. If they gave up ice skating because their friend didn’t want to learn how, why not encourage your teen to strap on their skates and hit the ice? You can also encourage them to take the time to learn something new. That friendship is no longer going to hold them back, so it’s a perfect time to grow and shine.

Encourage your teen to try group activities rather than focusing on one friend for a while. This doesn’t mean they can’t spend time with only one friend, but they need some time to adjust to their new status. Give your teen time to work through the break-up and they’ll be better prepared to delve into a ‘best friend’ relationship again.

No one likes to break up, and doing so with a best friend may actually be more devastating than losing a romantic relationship. The feelings your teen will experience are much the same so let them grieve the loss. Before you know it they’ll be ready to begin another close friendship.