“I lost my brother when I was 13.
I wish I would have had someone to tell me to stay positive and to grieve but not let my grief consume me.
The goal with the grieving process is to be able to let go and move on.
To honor the people we lose, we must live our lives fully and try to be happy and positive.
It is tragic when one death causes another to die spiritually, we as individual humans have to choose to stay positive while in the healing process.
Journaling and/or writing letters to the departed really does help.
Not having the positivity I needed during that time, really affected my life choices, I would have made better ones and I truly believe that.
If a person does not have that positive support in their lives, they need to find someone else who can and will help them through it.
Someone that has a more positive perspective on life and death.” – Survivor of Teenage Grief
Grief is not an easy emotion to process.
It can feel like anxiety, depression, hopelessness, or even the end of the world.
Sometimes it is the end of the world that we knew.
That’s what grief and mourning are here for: to acknowledge a part of our lives that we knew is now gone forever, and somehow we go on anyway.
Grief can manifest as anger, denial, a lack of concentration, blaming oneself, and getting into trouble.
And because every teen is different with their own unique set of circumstances, what grief will look like on them will be different as well.
Every reaction is normal. And for the most part, these mini-humans will grieve the way adults will grieve with the full spectrum of emotions.
It can be devastating for an entire family. The wellbeing of others is not always simple to take care of during times like these, but it can be done with mindfulness and resources…
With the awareness that you are not alone. An all too easy emotion to fall into during despairing times.
How to maintain wellbeing?
Of course, there are the obvious factors we all know to play a large part in maintaining wellbeing during these times: nutrition, getting enough sleep, and movement as simple as walking.
Sometimes sleeping even more than one thinks is necessary. There are real physiological changes happening in the body, as well as an increase in hormones the body is trying to sort through to bring back to homeostasis.
Make rest okay. Make as much of it as your child needs perfectly alright.
Self-care outlets like journaling, writing or any other creative outlet can have a twofold effect 1.) the grieving human often feels an increase in self-awareness and introspection. 2.) its a cathartic way of expressing emotion and getting it out of the body.
Arts and Crafts, writing letters, punching pillows will have similar effects.
The important thing is letting your child know its okay to express their emotions in healthy ways.
It is safe to be heard.
It is safe to feel.
It is safe to acknowledge that life is different now…
Grief Support Groups
Grief support groups are helpful because they remind us that we are not alone.
The pain the grieving teen feels is shared amongst others going through the same thing.
This can help grieving teens feel seen, supported and affirm a sense of belonging.
As a parent, you may need to do some research to find one that fits.
It is known that teens generally like to surround themselves with their peers especially through hard times.
That is when they often feel the most seen and understood.
Being a teenager is a time of feeling like nobody gets you, you don’t relate to adults much yet, and you certainly don’t relate to children in the same way.
The only other people that are going through the same transition you are are other teens.
Yet.. sometimes other teens have no idea how to handle this loss.
In an attempt to be helpful they may give dismissive remarks.
Teens have their own warfare going on and their brain is still developing.
Their ability to take on other peoples perspective is extremely limited, making them come across as self-centered and have a lack of empathy.
While their support can be extremely beneficial in some cases, they may just be at a loss too about the best way to be there for the bereaved.
As an adult, if you are trying to be supportive of the teen, make sure you are practicing the art of compassionate listening.
Don’t lecture them.
Don’t know better than them.
Treat them the way you would treat a dear friend.
Let them know you are interested in what they have to say, and you respect their unique point of view.
Let yourself be honest about your grieving process too.
Teens need guidance about how to heal and sometimes they will emulate your process.
If you choose to pretend everything is okay and “life goes on” in order to “be strong,” they may do the same.
But pain always finds a way out…
If not in healthy ways, it can exacerbate unhealthy patterns such as acting out, rage, indulging in mind-inhibiting substances like drinking or drugs, or finding a way to fill the void through sexuality.
It takes time. Let them know that.
Mourning is a process.. and some mourn longer than others.
Let your teen know that their journey is their own, and it is so very much okay.
Healing takes place when peace with the past is made.
It’s an agreement that what happened can’t be undone, life may never be the same, and maybe that’s okay.
Healing in grieving teens can have an increase in empathy and resiliency.
It can jumpstart a spark of confidence in their ability to get through challenging times and adapt.
This confidence can transfer in their ability to learn new skills and solve problems independently. As well as seek help when needed.