Boys And Breakups: A Guide For All Mothers

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Girls tend to get all of the attention when it comes to dating. It’s not because they are better than boys, although some people think that to be the case. For the most part, it stems from the fact that girls have a lot to deal with, such as peer pressure and sexual abuse. The result is that boys can go under the radar when it comes to dating. Indeed, many moms and dads just leave their sons to it and don’t even cover the topic of dating. When your boy goes through their first breakup, this approach can cause some problems. Because you will have no idea how to react and may make common parenting errors. 

Here is a guide which will help you make the right moves:

Don’t Be Pushy

All mothers have an instinct to help their kids when they are in pain. In most cases, this instinct is positive and powerful. But step back. Boys, especially teenagers, feel like they are much older than their years. As a result, says it is in their blood to rebel against their parents’ advice. When they are going through a breakup, this character trait is more pronounced than ever. With this in mind, don’t give them a reason to project their feelings towards you. The key is to take a step back and allow them to process their emotions. It might not be pretty and it might take a while, but it is the right decision.

But Do Be Available

Just because you don’t run into his room and put him in a bear hug doesn’t mean you can’t help. Similarly, it doesn’t mean he won’t want his mother because he hasn’t run into your arms. When he begins to deal with his emotions, his anger will subside and he will look to talk about his feelings. Of course, you and his father are two of the main people in his life, and you will have a big role to play. However, he should come to you and not the other way around, as it means he will be ready to talk. All you have to do when he finally wants to chat is to listen. Sometimes,teenage boys just need to get their feelings off their chests.

Read A Book

It might occur to you that you have no idea how to react when your son experiences a breakup. Of course, this makes it hard to help.  Some mothers like to wing it and cross that bridge when they arrive at it; others prefer to arm themselves with information. If you need to prepare, publications like The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle will give you an insight into their mind. And, with a coupon from, there is no need to break the bank in the process. You could also buy a breakup book for your son and suggest it as reading material. He almost inevitably will say no at first, but leave it around the house just in case. After all, it is easier for boys to read a book than admit their feelings to other people.

Boost His Self-Esteem

No boy will admit it, but a breakup affects their self-esteem and their confidence. What he needs is a boost to help him through this difficult period, and you can do with simple words. However, there is a skill to it because of the mom stigma. Children know their mothers will say anything to make them feel better, which means your comments can carry less emphasis. To negate this believe you shouldn’t go overboard with the praise. Instead, simply say you like the clothes he is wearing or that his hair looks nice. Small gestures like these have more of an impact because they appear less mommy-fied. Plus, they are doubly effective if they already like the way their clothes fit or their hair looks.

Photo by Jamie via Flickr


Don’t Fight Back

As a sounding board for your son, there will be times when he is angry and takes it out on his mom. In fact, there might be harsh words which make you want to react. However, a break up is not the time to say things which can affect his confidence as the impacts can be negative. Therefore, the best defense is to say nothing at all. Remember that he is looking for a scapegoat and will pin the blame on anyone who offers their services. Staying cool and calm prevents him from holding you responsible. More importantly, it lets him vent his obvious frustration which stems from a breakup. If it is his first, the odds are he won’t know how to deal with the emotions. Venting his anger helps him release the tension and move toward healing.

Distract Them

Adults know that time alone is the worst part of a breakup. When people are by themselves, they reflect back, and that can intensify emotions. Therefore, the key to dealing with a split is to be around individuals who can take a person’s mind off the situation. Don’t do anything special because of the breakup. Rather, use your role to get your son out of the house and focused on other things. For example, tell him he can’t spend the whole day in his room because it isn’t good for his health. Or, take him out to run errands. 

Just like girls, boys need support when they go through a split.


The Building Boys Bulletin

The Building Boys Bulletin Newsletter gives you the facts, encouragement, and inspiration you need to help boys thrive. Written by Jennifer L.W. Fink, mom of four sons and author of Building Boys: Raising Great Guys in a World That Misunderstands Males, Building Boys Bulletin includes:

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“I learned a lot about helping boys thrive over the past 20+ years — most of it the hard way! I’m eager to share what I’ve learned to make your path a little easier.”   – Jennifer

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