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Ending relationships

While it may not happen often, there may be times during your child’s life where you will need to support them when a relationship ends.

Introduction

While it may not happen often, there may be times during your child’s life where you will need to support them when a relationship ends. It may be your child’s choice to end the relationship, or it may have been the choice of the other person in the relationship. This doesn’t just apply to intimate relationships – it applies to friendships too.

Even if your child has secure, healthy relationships, it is still likely that your child may see other people in their lives have their relationships end. Understanding that all people have the right to choose to be in a relationship or not is an important part of understanding healthy relationships. Both people have to agree for there to be a relationship. Sometimes relationships end, and it is not necessarily anybody’s fault. It can be hard, however, to explain why relationships end.

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Relationships end for many reasons. It might be because over time people’s interests change, they grow apart or they have less in common with each other. It might be because they move far away, or because they find somebody else they want to be in a relationship with.

Sometimes people in a relationship do not agree with each other and they argue. It is normal for people to have arguments sometimes, even in a healthy relationship. This does not mean the relationship has to end. People can work out their differences sometimes. But if it happens a lot, it is ok for somebody to decide they don’t want to be in that relationship anymore. If somebody is concerned that they are in an unhealthy relationship, they should speak to somebody they trust about what they should do.

To learn more about supporting your child to learn the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships, go to healthy vs unhealthy relationships.

  • There is nothing wrong with you – this just wasn’t the right relationship. There’s nothing to be ashamed of
  • Just because one relationship ends doesn’t mean you can’t have another one in the future. People can have more than one close relationship in their life
  • It’s better not to be in a relationship at all than to be in a bad one or in one where the other person doesn’t feel the same way as you do
  • It’s ok and normal to feel hurt, angry or to miss the other person, even if you were the one who ended the relationship
  • These feelings won’t last forever. Give yourself some time to get over the loss of the relationship, but remember, you have so much more in your life to look forward to

Try to look at the positives – it’s a good opportunity to learn more about yourself and what you really want in future relationships

Conversation Starters

You don’t seem to be spending much time with Sam lately. Is there anything you want to talk about?
Did you hear the news about that famous couple breaking up? Do you know what happened?
How are you feeling since Jo changed schools?

Strategies for you to try

Sorting activity

Work with your child to come up with a list of age appropriate things that they think are signs of a healthy and unhealthy relationship. Find photos to match the list and print them out. Mix up the printed photos and ask your child to sort them into healthy and unhealthy signs.
If your child is older, you could also do a similar sorting activity with the Sex Safe and Fun ‘Good sex, bad sex’ cards .

Teachable moments

Have a conversation about relationships ending while watching a movie or tv show. Do the characters look like they are in a healthy or unhealthy relationship? Why do you think they broke up? Why do you think they’re not friends anymore? Do you think that was a good reason to end the relationship?

Support emotional regulation

Brainstorm with your child what they might do to help them feel better if a relationship ends. For example, listen to music, watch a movie, go for a walk, play with sensory items. You can put these on their ‘My Favourite Things’ poster.

trying to make friends

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Introduction to puberty for girls
Ending relationships

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