“My daughter just had her first breakup…What do I say to comfort her?”

Hi, how do you help your teenager cope with a broken heart? That is today's question on Tips on
Teens. My name is Kent Toussaint. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, and I'm the
founder and clinical director of Teen Therapy Center. It's a group private practice. I'm also
the executive director of Child and Teen Counseling, a nonprofit organization. Both organizations
work to help kids, teens, and families live happier lives. Every Wednesday at noon, I answer
your parenting questions here on Facebook Live. Today is no exception. Let's jump into today's
question. My daughter just had her first breakup, and she got dumped via text. Naturally, she's
really upset. It breaks my heart to see her hurting like this, but whenever I try to talk to her
about it, there are other fish in the sea, etc. She says, I don't get it, and shuts herself up in
a room. Am I doing something or saying something wrong? I don't know. First of all, breakups
stink. No matter how you slice it, we've all been

through breakups and they just hurt. There's no way around this and I think the biggest thing
as parents to do is manage our own anxiety and our own frustrations, our own discomfort about
our child's frustration and discomfort. You know the whole five stages of grief, you know,
the denial, it's not happening, no it's not happening, he's not breaking up with me, no, no,
it can't be true. the anger, oh I'm angry, I'm frustrated, how can he do this to me? You know, slamming
the door and crying. The bargaining, if I'm just better, if I just said this thing differently,
if I just do this better, if I'm just nicer, if I just, you know, do my hair a different way, maybe
he'll come back to me. The depression, oh I'm a loser. I'm unlovable. No one will ever love me.
I hate myself. I hate the world. I can't get up in the morning. That depression. And then the last
stage, acceptance. All right, we're done. Moving on. There are other fish in the sea. I'm gonna
live my life. That last stage, that acceptance

stage, that's the last stage. The last stage. It takes a while to get to that last stage. We've
all been through it. We've all been through our breakups. We've all had to go through to find
that last stage. I think one of the struggles that we as parents go into is we want to push our kids
to that last stage as fast as possible to relieve our own anxiety and our own discomfort and you
can't push that. We have to let our kids go through this process because this breakup is not the
last breakup she's going to have, most likely. Most likely she will have many breakups, not
just romantic breakups, it could be breakups with friends, breakups with neighbors, breakups
with colleagues, you know, work breakups. There could be many different breakups that we have
that hurt us, that make us feel sad and uncomfortable and, you know, just knock us down. These
are important breakups to go through and they build resilience. And the best way to do that to
help your child build resilience is to be there

for them. Be that person who puts the arm around the shoulder and says, Hey, I get it. It stinks.
I'm sorry. Let's sit on the couch and cry together. Let's, you know, if you jump to, hey, there
are other fish in the sea, feel better soon. You're skipping the denial, the anger, the bargaining,
the depression, and you need to go through all those phases. If you don't go through those phases,
you can't get to acceptance. And the acceptance is where we want to get to. And it's important
to remember that this is temporary. This horrible feeling of her breaking up and getting dumped
via text, which means there's very little closure, right? There's all this, why? Why did it
happen? Why do you do it this way? Or she, whatever it is, she's never going to get that closure.
And oftentimes in breakups, we don't get the closure we'd like. And learning how to accept that
is important. And the only way to learn to accept that is to go through it. It's like the only way
to learn how to feel good about,

you know, running is to go with that first four to eight weeks of running and feeling horrible
about it, but after about eight weeks, you start feeling good, right? Same thing with a broken
heart. It just takes a while. So don't jump to there are other fish in the sea or don't jump into,
well, your boyfriend was this and that and talking about how bad he was, you know, let her lead
that way. If she wants to start complaining about how mean he was and how horrible he was, just
validate and say, yeah, I get it. I hear you. Because we know how that feels. We've all been through
that. Every one of us parents have been through breakups. And again, they stink. And if it helps
to relate that empathy, I think that's what you want to do. Relaying your experiences is either
going to be a good or bad example. I'm not sure. Some kids don't want to hear it. Some kids do. Maybe
you want to check in and say, hey, I went through a similar experience when I was 16. Do you want
to hear how I handled it?

She'll either say yes or no. And just follow her lead. Let her be the leader of this emotional
journey. Don't try to be the leader. If any of you try to lead it, she's not gonna feel listened,
she's not gonna feel heard, and then she's gonna push you away and say you don't understand and
slam the door. And that's what we want to avoid. This takes time. It's a process. Just be there
for her. Don't try to fix this problem. This problem will fix on its own with emotional support
around her. That's the question for today. Thanks for tuning in. Thank you for your questions.
Keep them coming. Hope you guys are all staying safe during quarantine. We're all in this together.
We're gonna get through this. This was a non -quarantine question, which was kind of a nice,
you know, a nice break from quarantine. If you have questions you'd like me to answer, you can
email us at tipsonteens at teentherapycenter .com or direct message us right here on Facebook.
Again, my name is Kent Toussaint from Teen

Therapy Center and Child and Teen Counseling, both in Woodland Hills. And I'll see you next
Wednesday at noon on Facebook Live. Bye -bye, guys.

Breaking up is hard to do…at any age! For teenagers, especially, the end of a relationship can often feel like the end of the world. During such an emotionally vulnerable time, it’s important for our kids to feel supported—but how do you do that without coming across as out of touch or annoying to your teen? This week’s Tip On Teens question is from a parent wondering how to comfort their daughter after a difficult breakup:

“My daughter just had her first breakup….and she got dumped via text. Naturally she’s really upset. It breaks my heart to see her hurting like this, but whenever I try to talk to her about it (there are other fish in the sea, etc.) she says I don’t get it and shuts herself up in her room. Am I doing or saying something wrong?”

Tips On Teens is a vlog that our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint, hosts every Wednesday at 12:00pm on Facebook Live.  He will be answering parenting questions submitted to us by you to our email at TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com.  Send us any questions you might have about parenting kids and teens and Kent will be answering them every week!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.

So, what do you do when your 15 -year -old daughter has a boyfriend who's getting a little too
controlling for your liking? That is today's question on Tips on Teens. My name is Kent Toussaint.
I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, and I specialize in helping kids, teens, and
families live happier lives. I run two organizations, the Group Private Practice Teen Therapy
Center, and the nonprofit organization, Child and Teen Counseling, both here in Woodland
Hills, California. Every Wednesday at noon, I come to you on Facebook Live to answer your parenting
questions. Let's jump into today's. My 15 -year -old daughter started liking a boy over the
past year and after she turned 15, they started dating, which means they can be driven to a public
place and spend time together or be at his house or ours with parents present. With quarantine,
they mostly hang out virtually. He is a polite boy with a good heart. However, there have been
occasions when he has become quite upset that she is

spending time via FaceTime, text, etc. with other friends and not him. And then when she's interacting
with her other friends, he is constantly texting or calling her and the friend. I've talked
with her about how controlling and unhealthy that is, and I also believe some of it is just immaturity.
I've also talked with him and his mom, and he has started going to counseling. Great. I've debated
whether to exert more parental control and enforce restrictions on their relationship. With
COVID, they don't spend as much time together in person, but he's always calling or texting
her non -stop. My question is this, turn the page here, while I do not like this controlling immature
behavior coming from him, I want to know what I can do to help my daughter stand up for herself.
She is so passive. I hadn't realized how much until this. We talk about it whenever it happens
and she tells me she knows it's not good or appropriate, but she's not telling him. I know they
care about each other and I've

tried to be patient and understanding but it just happened again. It causes so much stress and
she has got to speak up for herself. I'm afraid that even if this boyfriend goes away, she'll
find herself in the same situation with the next one or just in general. So it's a big question,
a lot going on. First of all, let's point out some of the positives here. First off, sounds like
you and your daughter have a really healthy dialogue and a healthy relationship which is the
biggest strength you have So, I applaud that and I encourage you to maintain that as much as you
can. Secondly, it sounds like you, the parent, have a healthy dialogue with this boyfriend's
mom as well, and the boyfriend. So, it sounds like both parents are there to help guide these
two teenagers toward a more healthy relationship. There is no such thing as a perfectly healthy
relationship. We are all dysfunctional humans, we're all flawed humans, we're all a little
flawed, and that's okay. is learning how to deal with

our flaws and cope with our flaws to make more conscious choices. Thirdly, this boy has gotten
to his own counseling, so hopefully he's getting the support he needs. Let's focus on the relationship
between this mom and this daughter, helping with self -empowerment, self -advocacy, and self
-worth. So there's a lot of ways we can deal with this. First, keep your ears open and your mouth
smaller. You know, you can talk, but make sure you're you're hearing more. Make sure you're
there to support her. The more you tell her, the more you try to direct her, the more she's going
to just go back in her shell and not think. We need to make her talk it out. Also, the more you try
to legislate this relationship, the more you're going to idealize this boyfriend and the more
you're going to make her need to defend this boyfriend instead of seeing him for who he really
is. Will this boyfriend be the boyfriend and the next partner in her life? Probably not. Most
likely she's going to have several partners

throughout her life before she gets married or maybe married several times. Who knows? Very
few high school relationships go beyond high school. There are some, and I know of some, but
there are very few. So again, I don't want to go too deep into what's going on with his boyfriend,
but I want to go into more with this daughter and this mom. So as a mom or as a parent, how are you
demonstrating that self -advocacy, that self -empowerment, that self -worth? How are you
modeling it for her to follow? She's going to follow your actions more than she'll follow your
words. So with your spouse or your ex -spouse, whoever you co -parent with, do you model self
-respect, self -advocacy, taking the higher road? Does she see that from you? Let's say you
and her father are still together, for example. Do you both demonstrate that kind of maturity
and that kind of self -respect with each other? Do you talk about how she sees a healthy relationship?
Would she want to be, you know, how does she see a

trusting relationship? Does she want to be trusted? Does she want to trust him? And we can talk
about, is it worth being in a relationship where there's no trust and there's no respect? Is
that really a relationship that feeds us? If we're constantly worried about what the other
person is going to say or do or if the other person is going to leave us, depending on what we do
or say if we do the wrong thing, Is that a tenable relationship? And just because you say it once
doesn't mean she's going to internalize it. It may take a while. She may have to stub her toe in
this relationship several times until she realizes what she wants is healthy. And at 15, it's
really hard to do that. I mean, it's hard to have a healthy relationship at 15. It's hard to do
anything healthy at 15. But hopefully, if she can stub her toe in this relationship, it will
help her with her 18 -year -old relationship and her 24 -year -old relationship. You know, unhealthy
relationships, we've all been through them.

They're not necessarily bad to have as long as there are some boundaries around it because that
helps us learn what we want and what we don't want. Hopefully, those of you in a healthy relationship
now, you've probably learned from past relationships that were less healthy and learned more
of what you want and what you don't want. What you're willing to accept and what you're not willing
to accept. How are you willing to be in a relationship to be healthy as opposed to not being healthy?
And some of that is trial by fire and it is painful and it's hard to watch our kids go through that
pain You can't shield your kids from that. I don't think as long as this relationship is not getting
dangerous I wouldn't stand in the way of the relationship now You may want to talk about it and
be there for her feelings again Bigger ears smaller mouth, but the more she can talk it out, you
know Maybe she can get to the point where she can go. I'm so tired of this I don't want to be in this
kind of relationship

anymore or I need to tell him And you can talk about, if we don't tell him, how will he know? And
if you do tell him, and he gets upset and wants to leave you, wouldn't he leave anyway? Again,
these are all very conscious, adult thought processes that it's hard for a 15 -year -old in the
thick of it to understand and cope with. Sometimes using metaphor, talking about it in the third
person, if her friend was in this situation, what would she want for her friend? Or what would
she want for her older sister if her older sister was in this situation? There's a lot of ways
to go around this. Be patient. Take your time. This relationship will most likely end at some
point. And hopefully you're right. She learns from this relationship and goes to the next relationship
having more confidence. It's a process. And we wish that our 15 -year -old daughters and sons
could have the strength and confidence of a 35 -year -old. It just usually doesn't happen until
the 35, unfortunately. You know, just

think of everyone watching this. How uncomfortable and how would lack of confidence do we have
at 15 that now we've grown and have more confidence and have more Awareness and we wish we had
that at 15, but there's no way we could have that 15 because we were 15 Anyways, stay supportive
keep listening keep being there for her try not to direct her too much, but ask the questions
so she can find those answers and and keep the questions coming. If you want to talk more about
this, give us a call here or text us or direct messages. Or if you have a new question you'd like
us to answer next week, give us an email at tipsonteens at teentherapycenter .com. You can always
direct messages here on Instagram or Facebook too. Love seeing you guys. Thanks again. My name
is Kent Toussaint from Teen Therapy Center and Child and Teen Counseling, and I'll see you guys
next week. Bye -bye.