More on Helping Teens

  • The best way to help a grieving teen is to provide meaningful assurance, validation, non-judgment, patient and open-minded support, and lots of listening. Validate their feelings, even if you don’t agree.

 

  • Allow for open dialogue about religion and philosophy. Nurture them in finding their own answers; if appropriate, be open to admitting that you’re still trying to answer some questions, too, or connect them to trusted faith leaders.

 

  • If your family is involved in memorial planning, discuss what to expect depending on the type of services. If possible, include them in the planning. Allow them to participate—or not.

  • As teens adjust to loss, they may explore a new role in life. Be mindful of whether their role is a teen role or that of an adult. Responsibility is healthy as long as it’s appropriate for the age and stage of the teen.

  • Encourage additional social support systems (family, friends and/or community).

  • Check in with other adults involved in their life – other parents, teachers, school counselors, coaches.

  • Be prepared for full recurring emotions in response to milestones and rituals such as birthdays, graduations, weddings, and the birth of children.

 

  • Notice what’s going in in your teen’s life—even as you deal with your own grief. Remember that it’s okay to ask for help, from a trusted friend, a crisis hotline, or a professional.