Adolescents and Grief
Adolescence is a time of great change in the life of a young person. Teenagers struggle with issues of identity and independence, as they try to bridge the gap between childhood and adulthood. When a death occurs their life can become very difficult
It is important to give adolescents clear and accurate information at the time of a death. They may wish to take an active part in funeral arrangements or to mark the death in their own way. Involving teens in the rituals can help them on their grief journey, but treat them in a manner appropriate to their age.
Unlike young children, adolescents fully understand the concept of death; they know that death is final and inevitable. However, they often have an exaggerated view of their own invulnerability – ‘it will never happen to me’. As their life goals and dreams start coming into focus, the concept of death can appear both threatening and remote.
Adolescent grief may show itself as: confusion, withdrawal, crying, feelings of emptiness, loneliness, disturbances in sleep and eating patterns and exhaustion
Supporting a bereaved teen
Each young person grieves in their own way, so their is no set formula to help them cope. Adults who are willing and able to listen to teens, who accept their feelings as real and important and who model openness in discussing issues of life and death can be a resource to young people as they try to cope with loss and bereavement.
Please also see our Factsheet on Adolescent Loss
See also the Candle Project UK which has good information on their website about young people and grief with a list of helpful leaflets here.
Watch here a full presentation by Dr. Elaine Kasket on supporting a bereaved teen in the digital age.
More in Families
RESOURCES FOR FAMILIES
Resources that may help children if someone is going to die: Books to be read to young children: Badger’s Parting gifts by Susan Varley Is Daddy Coming Back in a Minute? by Elke Barber The Secret C – Straight talking about Cancer published by Winston’s Wish, UK. DVD clip which may be viewed with […]
Children and Grief
Find below a series of A4 fact sheets available for download. These fact sheets offer some guidance and information on Children and Grief. Also find below Directory of Services for resources and services available. Supporting children before a death Supporting a child at time of death New Funerals and saying goodbye […]