How to Help Your Adopted Teen Cope With a Breakup

It is normal for teenagers to experiment with romantic relationships. However, teenage girls with behavioral and mental health issues have a higher likelihood of experiencing a romantic breakup. In addition, adopted teens are especially vulnerable to feeling rejected if they experience relationship problems with someone they love. The emotional fallout can destabilize their mental health.

According to Behavioral Sciences, among teens who date, “relationship breakups were the most common concern for both male and female adolescents and for all age groups.” Teens who struggle with mental health issues can benefit from the personalized treatment programs at Havenwood Academy. We teach teens how to regulate their emotions and resolve relationship conflicts or recover from a difficult breakup.

Helping Your Child Cope With a Romantic Breakup 

Romantic relationships are complicated. Breakups often involve many different emotions. Regardless of who chose to end the relationship or whether they parted on good terms, the loss hurts and causes a strong emotional response. Parents can help their children by actively listening to their feelings and needs. Some adopted children may start isolating themselves from friends and family members following relationship difficulties. Parents should remind their children the end of one relationship does not define their worth.

A few other ways parents can help their adopted child recover from a romantic breakup include: 

  • Encourage them to confide in a therapist and support system 
  • Ensure they have access to social support and discourage isolating behaviors
  • Provide them with resources, including literature and online resources that provide insight into healthy ways to move forward 
  • Help them find safe ways to channel their negative feelings

Residential Treatment After a Romantic Breakup

The residential treatment programs at Havenwood Academy provide an ideal space for teens to heal after a distressing emotional event like a breakup. According to Bruce D. Perry in Born for Love, “Empathy and connection affect physical—not just mental—wellness and health.” Our team works with families and teens to provide empathy and connection for emotional relief and essential skill development. 

Childhood Trauma and Relationship Issues

Teens with a history of trauma have a higher risk of experiencing relationship issues and may have difficulty resolving conflicts. Some teens with untreated trauma may not have the tools they need to respond in a healthy or appropriate way to the pain of a breakup. Children who have access to professional mental health treatment have access to resources that can help them cope effectively with emotional distress. 

Untreated early childhood trauma can interfere with teen relationships by causing the following issues: 

  • Inability to communicate effectively 
  • Emotional instability 
  • Difficulty making deeper connections
  • Extreme mood swings 
  • Trauma reactions 
  • Unresolved tension or conflict 

Healing from adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) takes time, and personalized treatment often provides the best outcome. At Havenwood Academy, we offer traditional treatments and alternative holistic therapies like brainspotting and animal-assisted therapy. Mental health treatment can give teens the information they need to connect specific thoughts and beliefs to maladaptive behaviors so they can move past them. Developing social skills is easier in a residential setting where teens can interact with peers. 

Breakups Can Increase Abandonment and Attachment Issues

Many adopted teens have abandonment or attachment issues caused by ACEs. A romantic breakup can emotionally overwhelm teens who have previously experienced traumatic rejection. Family and peer support can provide essential reassurance and encouragement for teens processing a breakup. In some cases, a sudden breakup with a romantic partner can cause some teens to experience grief related to past losses. 

Parents can support their children by helping them process the breakup and their emotional response. Professional mental health treatment combined with parental support makes it easier for teens to learn healthy coping skills. Individual therapy or counseling can help children by providing the following:

  • A nonjudgmental space to work through their emotions 
  • An objective outside perspective
  • Guidance from someone trained in relationship issues

A therapist can help your child understand that the past is not an accurate predictor of the future. Teens often need reassurance that rejections and trauma related to abandonment do not define them. In many cases, the emotional distress of a breakup lasts for weeks or months. Treatment can help teens recover more quickly and regain confidence.

Protecting Your Child From Feelings of Abandonment

Adopted children are more vulnerable to feelings of abandonment. A breakup might bring up strong emotions related to the loss of parental figures or loved ones and trauma related to ACEs. Parents can protect their children from feeling rejected by doing the following: 

  • Helping them identify and process their feelings 
  • Giving them space and time to grieve the loss 
  • Validating their feelings 

Feelings of abandonment can cause your child to feel unsafe. According to the Children’s Bureau (CB), “Children who have experienced traumatic events need to feel safe and loved.” Parents can help their children by providing love, consistent parental support, and access to mental health services like those at Havenwood Academy.

Teenage girls have to cope with many social challenges that might affect their mental health. Romantic breakups can cause emotional distress and increase the severity of mental health or behavioral issues. Adopted teens have a higher risk of experiencing a traumatic breakup. Early childhood abuse or neglect can contribute to mood and behavioral changes caused by a difficult split with a romantic partner. Your daughter may feel guilty, hurt, betrayed, or scared of the future. You can help her by listening and supporting her emotionally. Havenwood Academy offers mental health services to help teenage girls heal from mental health disorders, lowering their risk of a traumatic breakup. To learn more, call our office today at (435) 586-2500.


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