According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, today the average age that kids start dating is 12 and a half for girls, and 13 and a half for boys. In addition, the dating scene for many of these tweens consists of talking, group dates, texting and social gatherings. It can be quite normal to be “dating” someone, but never actually go out on what us parents would actually call a date. Is this a good thing? The jury is still out on this one! However, watching your tween navigate these dating waters can be hard. They are just beginning to understand these new feelings and yet, they have to also navigate the feelings of someone they are interested in. And as the pragmatic parents that we are, we know that not every tween romance will last through the test of time, and witnessing your child go through a breakup can be heart wrenching, even under the best of circumstances. So, us parents have a heavy job of teaching our new love bird how to break up or take a break up with class, and to basically, do the right thing.
If your tween is the one who needs to break up with someone, here are some helpful tips to share with them:
- Have them make sure their mind is made up before they make the decision. It is never a good idea to be wishy washy with someone’s heart.
- Once they made up their mind, have them tell the person themselves. Do not have someone else do it for them. They need to stand by their decision.
- Encourage them to breakup in person, face to face. If this isn’t going to happen and may cause undo stress, have your child decide the right way to do it.
- If they like someone else, make sure they break off the relationship BEFORE they begin a new one.
- Make sure they keep gossip and sharing information about what happened to a minimum outside of the two of them. No one likes a gossip and there are feelings at play.
- Have them restrain from posting anything on social media about it. Social media is not a place to flaunt that information as well as not a place to bully or show hateful remarks no matter what.
If your tween is the one who was broken up with:
- Let them know it is OK to question why if they want, but to listen to what the other person is saying with an open mind, even though it is painful to go through a breakup.
- No matter how hurt they are feeling, let them know that social media is not a place to air their dirty laundry and vent feelings on.
- Just because they were broken up with, doesn’t mean that person who broke up with them should be treated bad by anyone else in the friend circle. It’s ok to be upset, it’s not ok to encourage mean behavior, gossip or bullying.
- Encourage them to stay friends, or at least acquaintances, with the person that breaks up with them, especially if they were open and honest and did it the best way possible in this kind of situation.