No matter what the age is, breaking up is always hard. But the intense emotions that come up with it can be too much for some teenagers to handle.
A new study, led by Norma Clarke, MD, a child psychiatrist at The Menninger Clinic and medical director of The Clinic's Adolescent Treatment Program, suggests some ways of helping adolescents come out of break-up associated emotions.
"Some relationships may seem so intense and so necessary that teenagers harm themselves when the relationship ends," Clarke said.
A break-up signals to parents to be alert for signs of trouble in their teen's emotional health, because they often keep their feelings secret.
"If your teen falls off the deep end and you have a sense that you are losing control of him or her, you need to intervene," Clarke said.
She added that sudden changes in your teen's behaviour might also be signs that he or she is having relationship problems, she adds.
Some signals which point out that the relationship has gone far among teens are as follows - teenager insists on spending all of his or her free time with the other person and stops seeing friends; he or she cries frequently or wants to be alone or sleeps more or less than usual if his or her boyfriend/girlfriend is not around.
Another sign could be that the teen is constantly talking on the telephone or chatting on the Internet.
The study gives suggestion as to how to deal with the problem.
Clarke says that parents should talk to their teenager about the relationship.
"Remind your child that it is not a good idea to get too involved with just one person. They should keep their friends, and they shouldn't put all their eggs in one basket," Clarke said.
"Establish relationship rules according to your family's morals and values. It is ok to say, 'It is our expectation that you will not have sex when you are (age you decide) years old,'" she added.
"Frequently monitor your child's Internet usage to see what sites he or she frequently visits. Stay abreast of changes made to your child's MySpace or Facebook pages. Trust your instincts if the messages or content seems out of character and discuss it with your child.
"Be alert to cutting or other self-harm behaviour such as your teen no longer wearing short-sleeved clothing. Parents tend not to talk to kids about relationships or sexual behaviour.
"Keeping an open line of communication about friends of all types, activities and expectations is more welcomed by your child than may be apparent. I don't think parents realize the impact they have on their teenager's behaviour," she added.