Your home seems calm, your child is happily listening to their favourite band, collecting band memorabilia like posters, year books and t-shirts and life is good. Then disaster strikes, the band your kid is worshipping is faced with a big change, maybe even a break up – and the happy environment in your entire household is affected. Your child is no longer content but seems borderline depressed about the news.
The atmosphere is your house is no longer calm, in fact it feels like you have to tiptoe around your child. Initially you can attempt to be the patient parent, explaining to your child that life continues, but nothing you say is helping your child ‘snap out’ of it, and your patience is wearing thin.
It could be that what I have described above is not quite the right picture of what goes on with your teenager i.e. a band fixation, but it does highlight two very important facts – firstly, how teenagers fall passionately in love and secondly how, as adults, we forget the impact of this extremely strong emotion. As a parent you must remember that, falling in love with a band member is just as real for your kid as falling in love with someone at school. The good news is that falling in love with a band member allows your child to experience this feeling at a safe distance, but don’t dismiss the sensation as nonsense as it is indeed very real for your teenager.
How to help your teenager feel happy again
If your child is finding it difficult to put their emotions into perspective, and get over the loss of a love, ensure you do not belittle their feelings as it may cause them to get stuck in their grief. Instead, put yourself in their shoes by remembering how overwhelming those feelings of first love were, show your child that you trust them and that you sympathise. You may even elect to share a story from your own experience but, most importantly, keep the communication open by indicating you are listening as this will encourage your teenager to share their emotions. Also, remember that experiencing ‘teen band’ love and loss will allow your child to build resilience and it will give them a taste of how to deal with a potential heart ache.
By Tina Elven