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When Your Teen is Sad

My teen-ager was visibly emotional yesterday. Turns out his favorite teacher was leaving. People in his class were all abuzz online, sad at this turn of events.

It is easy for us adults to rationalize something like this. It is easy to tell them life will go on. However, for teen-agers, especially ones like my son who have built a personal relationship with a teacher, they can be heart broken.

Me, I have always been a klutz at comforting and other forms of legitimate mush. All I can offer is not say anything at all (some Filipino parents can go as far "Don't be so melodramatic!"), and not invalidate his feelings with the "life must go on" crap. It is true, but it's still crap for the griever.

When our kids were little, all we had to do was plant a kiss on the booboo, and they will be all-smiley again. When they grew a little, a soothing pat seemed to do it. But now, things are different. They are learning to face their emotions now all by themselves. They will fix themselves up whatever you do in the background, whether you do something or none at all.

Our kids need to experience their own sadnesses. There is no point for us parents to shield them from everything. It is tough to learn that life continually changes. Most of the time, a phase in your life that is quite happy is really just a phase. You move on to the next phase, and you make your own happiness again. And so on and so forth.

It takes some effort to bite one's tongue and not react immediately to our teens'reactions. Sometimes they are totally just whining for the heck of it. But sometimes, there is a totally legitimate reason and we should just, as they tell us every now and then, "back off". They will come around, surely.


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