How to support teenage kids through their first relationships

A teenager’s first relationship can seem like the most important thing in the world to them – and if it breaks up, it’s like the end of the world.

And while their much more experienced parents can see from the start that such relationships are unlikely to last, it’s not something they can really say to their child. In fact, it can be very hard to know what to say at all – or if, indeed, they should even utter a word.

“It can be hard navigating a first relationship with your teenage child,” says Relate (relate.org.uk) counsellor Holly Roberts. “They’re likely to find the conversation as difficult as you, and may not respond to constant questions, feeling like they’re being interrogated.

“Your child may still be trying to work out for themselves what’s going on, so bombarding them with questions may not be helpful if they genuinely don’t know how to answer them. This could leave them feeling overwhelmed, rather than supported.”

So, how should parents handle their teenager’s first relationships? Here’s what Relate counsellors advise…