I have a confession to make: I am not a Valentine’s Day type of person. All the cards and flowers and boxes of candy are just stuff I’ll eventually have to throw away. But my son seems to be a real romantic. He’s entering that age when kids can experience heartbreak. It’s a sensitive moment that no mom wants to experience but that we all have to deal with. It could happen that your child does not get that special Valentine he’s hoped to receive, or maybe that little friend he’s secretly in love with doesn’t like him back.
Have you ever seen a heartbroken child? That’s heartbreaking in itself! If your child is experiencing his or her first let down in love, here are my tips to help heal the wounds.
• No matter how young your child is, if he is heartbroken, you have to respect his feelings. For him, there is no such a thing as a silly or childish love.
• Your child is suffering, don’t dismiss him. Speak to him with tenderness and be serious about the whole thing. It’s a big deal for him.
• Don’t attempt to teach him a lesson by saying: I told you so, or That’s nonsense. He needs to share his sorrow, not a lecture from you.
• Try to think about what you would need and like if you were in his shoes. Do all you can to help him to feel a little better.
• Respect his silence if he doesn’t want to talk about it.
• When speaking to him try to be sweet and worthy of his trust. He needs your experience and wisdom. Share with him a time when you experienced rejection.
• Don’t diminish or badmouth his beloved. He needs to learn how to react when someone rejects him. Remember these are the first steps towards establishing his identity in his future relationships. You are setting some fundamental relationship parameters here for him to follow for the rest of his life.
• Of course, don’t mock him and be sure to keep the conversation private.
Read Related: The Break-Up: Helping Your Teen Through Heartache
• If he has siblings, ask them seriously NOT to tease their brother. This is a great opportunity to teach them respect and compassion.
• Take your child for a long walk so you can chat without interruptions.
• Let your child cry if he needs to, and hug him. You are the most reliable person in his world; he needs to be reassured of this.
• Listen, listen, and listen.
• Do you have any photos from when you were a child? Show them to him. Knowing you were young like him in the past and hearing stories of your own puppy love dramas could help him feel he’s not alone.
Once you’ve had your conversation, do something nice together. Go to the movies, have an ice cream sundae or go shopping, anything he really likes and that you know will make his day. Knowing you care is something he’ll count on over and over again—for the rest of his life.