As the word spread through the internet, it was like watching a groundswelling of grief pour across the net. If you have a teen, you know exactly what I am referring to here. The news this week that Zayn Malik of One Direction is leaving the band left fans of both sexes shocked and heartbroken. Just as the news of the Beatles breaking up was followed with shock and disbelief for my generation, this sudden departure for a quieter life from one of the biggest boy bands ever has left fans grieving. The difference is that this time there is social media to stoke the emotions. How can we – as parents and grandparents help them to deal with them? Here are a few things to use as pointers when talking with your kids about this change they are struggling to grasp.
Life Without Zayn Goes On
I guess the first big point to make is that this is a good thing for Zayn. He has stated he wants to live a normal life and do the things a normal 22 year old would do. He isn’t dead and he isn’t leaving mad to go to another band. He is taking a break from being a celebrity. Let him have the life he wants.
The Band Goes on Too
The band One Direction has stated they will continue as a foursome for the time being. Plans for the next tour will continue as planned. They have all wished Zayn well, even Simon Cowell has, and the band will continue without him. Perhaps if they can, so can their fans.
Feeling Grief Deeply
While life without Zayn may not sound like a reason to be upset to you, your kid is feeling this deeply right now. They are at an age when all emotions are set to high stun, so allow them their grief and pain over this. If they are lucky it is the only big grief they will feel for several more years. Whatever you do, don’t belittle what they feel or dismiss it openly. This pain is real to them and they need to express it.
Checking In Online
Stepping away from dismissing their pain does not mean stepping away completely. There is a disturbing hashtag making the rounds #cut4zayn that is downright scary. Talk to your kids about how they feel, let them know you are there for them. When Justin Bieber was busted for smoking grass a similar hashtag made the rounds and was revealed to not come primarily from teen girls as thought. Instead sick minds introduced it to incite them to be destructive. Let your kids know there are other ways to deal with the pain.
Finding Solutions to Life Without Zayn
Right now the net is awash with grief, so having a discussion with your kid about whether being online helps with the pain or makes it harder is a good start. They might want to take occasional breaks away from the sadness to restore their own balance. Perhaps suggesting that their friends get together to rewatch old One Direction concerts this weekend would be a step towards healing with friends instead of wallowing in grief. But whatever you do decide – be there for them. Their pain is real.
What's your opinion?