How to Help My Heart Broken Teenager

Updated on February 14, 2011
G.N. asks from Berkeley, CA
16 answers

Hello mamas,

My daughter came home from school today crying a lot. She said her boy friend broke up with her. She is 14 (9th grade) and just met this boy this school year. She invited him home once and he seemed to be a good kid. I feel terrible and don't know what to say to comfort her (and try not to say wrong things!). She said she didn't know why, he simple said he didn't like her any more. She is a very smart, kind and sweet girl. I can't imagine what could cause an abrupt break but I guess it's just a teenager thing.

I was a picky and terrible teenager so I did send a couple of boys away and didn't have much experience being heart broken myself.
What should I do/say? Does the boy owe my daughter an explanation? Is there any book for my daughter and me to read about relationship?

Thanks a lot!

Thank you

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So What Happened?

Thank you to everyone for the precious advices. My daughter is still sad, but she cries less now and still attend all her activities as usual. We also planed a walk (and may some shopping) with her best friend.
It's such a comforting feeling that I am not the only mom out there going through this.

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answers from Salt Lake City on

I think the best thing you can do is just be there for her and perhaps do things to help take her mind off the breakup. Go shopping, go out for ice cream, or have a girls movie night. Maybe allow her to have a bunch of friends over for a slumber party. Remind her that she is a beautiful, smart person and that you love her.

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answers from Dallas on

I've had 2 girls go through the whole dating experience. All the "right things" to say aren't helpful, even if they are true. All you can do is listen to her talk. The next time she brings up the subject, remind her that dating is full of happy times and sad times, and that she is in the process of learning what she wants for a future permanent relationship. Then ask her what ONE thing about that particular boy she would like to see in a future husband. Is it his smile, his sense of humor, his ambition? Then ask her to tell you what ONE thing she learned in the relationship that she does NOT want in her future husband. When I asked my girls that, it seemed to get them thinking on something other than an emotionally hurt level.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I think some of the mommies respinding to you are mean. Not 'letting' your teen have a boy/girlfriend or date is just plain silly and they prolly will any way, then hide it from you.

I remember how much relationships hurt as a teen. It is a real blow to your self confidence, then there are all the friends gossiping about the break up.

I say give her some space and time to be sad, listen to her and find ways to boost her self confidence. Have some good Mom/Daughter time - get a pedi, coffee, go window shopping stuff like that. Let her know she is beautiful and loved and after time the pain will pass and that it will happen again. Hang in there.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I'm also late to respond, but as I have a 14 year old daughter, I thought I would share my perspective, particularly in response to those who said that kids at this age shouldn't date.

My mom didn't let me date until I was 16. Of course I "dated" behind her back (in group settings). If she hadn't had the strict age 16 rule, I could have used her advice as I was navigating through these formative teenage experiences.

My 14 year old daughter hasn't yet had a boyfriend but she is allowed to (maybe she hasn't had one yet because she can and its not a forbidden fruit thing). One of the reasons I advocate for allowing kids to date once they are about 13/14 is that this is a learning experience just like any other. Kids learn to walk before they run, to read before they write. All learning is a process and "dating" at 13/14/15 is done so as part of the process of learning to date. The kids who "date" at this age hang out after school at the coffee shop or go to the movies or out to eat - and it's all done in group settings. These can be safe learning opportunities. If the first time someone dates is when he/she is in college, there will be little guidance and a lot of freedom.

And just like when a toddler falls while learning to walk, teens will stumble when learning to date. But with involved, supportive parents and friends, the teens will survive the bumps along the way.

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answers from Philadelphia on

I have an 8th grade and a 9th grade daughter. We have been going trough this also. What i tell them is that these are not real relationships. They are a puppy love/practice for the future. At this age it is not real dates. It is groups going skating, movies etc. I told them that when they are my age they wont remember any of this.

I have a very open relationship with my girls also. I am not naive. I realize they WILL sneak. I love that my girls can come to me with anything. They have confided in me when they saw someone "cutting" in the girls room, when a girlfriend thought that she would like to try pot, all kinds of sex/period questions. I would have it no other way. I do not want them going to just anyone with these issues. Lord knows what advice they would get then!

Anyway, the boy does not owe an explaination. These are just silly "relationships". She will be ok. You can do something together that she likes. Laugh together and blow this off. Good luck :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

Why do you even let your daughter have a boy friend at 14 ??? I think its absurd, and of course this is the reason why. My son is 15 and I told him no dating in high school, period. When he is in college he can date when it will actually mean more, and he will be more mature to deal with these things. Young teenagers don't have the life skills to deal with relationships of the opposite sex. Why encourage it either ? You're lucky your teen doesn't come home pregnant or with some STD. Kids (even good kids) can have a moment where they make the wrong choice if put in a situation alone with one another. All those hormones are bound to be out of control, and I would set new boundaries and tell your daughter you were misguided and did not use proper judgment and you have changed your mind on letting her have a boyfriend at such a young age. Encourage her to have friends of both sexes, but just that Friends. All the rest needs to wait till 17+ My son realizes that getting good grades and getting into a good college is more important now, and when he is more emotionally ready for a girlfriend and the whole dating thing = college age, that's when he will do that.
Kids at 14 don't even know what dating is - they can't even drive or go out 'on a date.' Its pathetic. They think they are so grown up, yet they are babies feeling pressured by society, their friends, the media to have a significant other at such a young age. As parents we need to explain that its a BAD idea, and encourage them to have friends, or get a hobby, get involved in their community, take the focus off all that immature behavior.

As far as your daughter (in addition to what I said above you should say) tell her 'this is how some boys are - unpredictable and they can change their emotions with the wind, just as some girls do....that kids at that age don't truly even know what having a boyfriend/gf is - and there is a lot more to it than saying "I have a b.f.' Tell her if she wants this type of pain to happen again, she will be foolish and have it happen all over again - but you know better, and she needs to trust you and your life experience, and do without all of this now.

Your child does NOT need to love your decisions for her. Too many parents are trying to stay on their teens 'good side' and just want them to be their friend. FORGET IT !!! You are supposed to be their parent, not a friend. They have enough friends, but only one parent who needs to guide and direct them - and Raise them to be responsibly mature young adults with good strong morals and values. Be the parent here and stop being the friend......

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Greensboro on

I'm a bit late to this and just scanned the answers .. I didn't see where anyone pointed out that once the pain has ebbed this is an EXCELLENT opportunity to teach your daughter about the importance of NOT giving up her girlfriends for a boyfriend/romance.

We all know how hard that is to do (even as an adult) and I think it's a great lesson to learn even if she doesn't have a 'boyfriend' (we use that term loosely at age 14!!) for quite sometime.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dothan on

The "chicken soup for soul" were great books for my younger siblings a while back when ging through their teenage stuff. Thiss was like early 2000's. I read a few too and they really spoke to kids. Also do slip in the adult thing about reality of teenage life, its all just practice anyways. You also need to build her confidence, let her know because one boy doesnt like her anymore doesnt mean others wont adore her every minute. Also explain how a real relationship works. More than anything just be there for her, dont be too mommy and dont be too much in the backround.

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answers from Tulsa on

no it is part of growing up. I explained it to my teenager like this most relatioinships even for adults fizzle in 3-6 months we have to mend our own broken hearts and she has to learn to mend hers. no he does not owe her an explination he is also a child learning to be an adult.

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answers from Washington DC on

He does not owe her anything. He is also maybe 14/15. They do this. All kids do this. She will one day have another boyriend that she gets tired of hanging with and kick him to the curb. Then he will come to his mom and she will have to say, some girls are like that.
All you can do is listen and give her some extra lovin. Go out Christmas shopping and get some cheesecake, or a mani. She will like the girly time and forget about him soon enough.
Or have Daddy take her somewhere, to a movie or something and have him lavish some extra lovin.
My son is 21, my daughters 13 and 15. My son had a girl as a senior but even then never just dated her alone. He always went with a group. Same goes for my girls. THey can go out in with a group.

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answers from Chicago on

I think as a mom you should be happy your 14 y/o broke up with a boy.

As for her feelings... you can tell her that the better guy is just around the corner and that everything in life happens for a reason and that he is not the one for her.
If she was more into the relationship than he was....tell her to learn to not give her heart easy next time until she is sure the boy is serious.

Encourage her to focus on her school work. Have an attitude "Who needs him anyway?"

Those just samples...

No one owes her an explanation...tell her that life is tough, she needs to lick her wounds privately, mend her heart, put a smile on her face and move on. That is what adults do. No one should know about her pain (I mean the girlfriends and the boys at school).

Good luck. Teach her to be strong.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

A few years ago my son had his broken by his first girlfriend. It sucks watching them go through this pain. I remember my friends and I complaining about our parents dismissing our pain with "There's lots of other guys..." or "You're so young..." the statements are true, but when you feel like your heart has been used as a cutting board it does nothing to make you feel better.

When my son had gone outside to an old play area, sat and cried. I just went out put my arm around him and told him I was sorry he was going through this pain. It was uncomfortable because I kept wanting to say all the comments I heard as a teen.

After a while, he asked to be alone and I let him know that if he needed to talk I would listen. I did tell him, "It hurts now, but the pain will subside."

He was miserable most of that night, but felt a little better by the next day (Gotta love kids resilence (sp?)).

Hang in there, it's tough to watch your kids go through that pain. Let her know you are there and you aren't dismissing the pain.


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answers from San Antonio on

She is 14 years old, a child not yet a woman! Society has all kids wanting boyfriends/girlfriends at such a young age. I tell kids that are complaining about not being able to do this or that, enjoy your childhood and teenage years go to school, see the world and when the time comes you will meet that special someone but ENJOY LIFE NOW, you only have one childhood after that here comes the RESPONSIBILITY and today marriage is not sacred, it is so easy to find that special someone and then realize he's not for me so take the time and talk to your daughter that boys at her age are going to do what they can to deceive her to get what they want and girls will do the same with your sons, she is 14 years old, her hormones are all over the place so explain to her she will have time when she is older but to enjoy being a kid. I have to daughters and I will do everything I can to steer them in the right direction. It's up to the parents and how they view life and what expectations they have for their own children not the world's view of what we should be teaching them. May God bless you!

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answers from Portland on

Heartbreak is heartbreak, regardless of age. The nice thing is that her first heartbreak is at a nice, young and resilient age (I love everything Diane said about her son) instead of being in the situation of having had a more serious or intimate relationship.

Fathers and honorary 'dads' can be a big help in times like this for young women. There is a lot of depth to these sorts of father/daughter relationships, and hearing compassion, encouragement and truth ("I was really confused about what I wanted when I was a teenage guy too.") is the kind of empathy that can be helpful to young women in this sort of situation. When a father-figure values his daughter, it speaks volumes.

You can tell her she's 'just learning' relationships, and she might be comforted by this, or it might make her feel like you aren't taking her feelings seriously, so for now, perhaps empathy and comfort (and space, if need be) first, and then some more critical discussion later on, when she's got her feet back under her. And instead of a specific book, keep the discussion ongoing. Reading books or watching tv/movies together, and then talking about what is healthy, what's realistic, and what is just a fairy tale (idealistic, romantic, but ultimately a facade) can help. Just the movie "Grease" has endless topics of discussion, and if that's too risque for her, even the Disney movies or popular Twilight series are good fodder. (I don't know what sorts of media your family allows-- these are just guesses, for movies.) And classic novels-- Anne of Green Gables and the Little House on the Prairie books have something to offer in regard to realistic love pairs; Little Women has loads to work with, and Jane Eyre--oh, that Mr. Rochester... nice in a story, but is that really the kind of person that will make you happy? ;)

It's easy for kids to get caught up in "going with" each other. This can be as simple as just sitting together at lunch or holding hands. Let her know, too, that the next time she likes a boy, her parents would like to meet him. At this age, I had restrictions on 'dating'-- it had to be a group event/outing and it had to be chaperoned. There's still a lot of wiggle room there.

Keep on talking to your daughter, and most important, keep listening. I didn't have that sort of dialogue or openness with my folks, and it made some situations harder. Your daughter is fortunate to have such a loving and caring mom.

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answers from Norfolk on

Early dating should never be about exclusive relationships. It's about finding out what you like and more importantly finding out about what you don't like. Everyone should be playing the field and dating lot's of different people.
You figure out how you treat people and how you'd like other people to treat you. No explanation is needed. He said he didn't like her anymore. What else does she need to hear? "It just wasn't working out." or "It's not you, it's me."?
There's this thing teenagers do. When they meet someone they like and a crush starts up, they start fantasizing what it's going to be like and a lot of the time it's the fantasy they are in love with more than the reality of the object of the crush. It's hard giving up that day dream when it's over, and that's what makes a crush so crushing.
She's going to meet a lot of people over her lifetime. Some will break up with her and some she will break up with. Chalk it up as a learning experience. She's going to go through this a few times before she learns to guard her heart a bit more carefully.
Right now, it might be useful to discuss with her how she would break up with someone if she was the one who wanted to break it off. Would she be kind? Would she be cruel?

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answers from Portland on

I don't have any advice, I just wanted to say "Thank you" for posting this question. I found it very interesting to read the responses. My daughter just turned 13 so I'm not there yet, but my time is coming.

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