Teens and Grief
The following is intended to help identify and support teens who may be coping with the death of a loved one. Please remember that grief is a very individual process and will vary with the individual and the circumstances surrounding the loss.
- Teens may demonstrate intense sadness or anger that seems out of the blue but is, in fact, related to the death.
- In an effort to seem normal, teens may suppress feelings or feel numb or indifferent.
- Self-blame and guilt are particularly common responses in teens.
- Fear can be a common grief response, particularly in the case of a peers death when teens are often faced with their own mortality for the first time.
Behavioural responses may include the following
- Withdrawal from peers, family, extra-curricular activities
- School grades and participation in school activities may decline
- Physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches, insomnia, loss of appetite, fatigue
- Increase risk-taking behaviour such as skipping school, use of alcohol and drugs
- Anger and increased aggression
From experience grieving teens give this advice
- Dont get upset if I dont want to talk
- Trust that I know what I need
- Dont push me
- Talk about it with me. Help me remember the good times
- Give me space
- Be patient, dont worry too much
- Just listen, you dont have to give advice