Dealing with the death of a loved one is always difficult for anyone, but it can be challenging for teenagers to express their grief. On top of wrestling with the awkwardness of youth, handling grief is understandably overwhelming for teens who are still in the process of finding themselves.
Unfortunately, many adults find it tricky to help their teenage daughter or son cope with losing a loved one. Some unknowingly take the “tough love” approach by asking teens to be strong during these vulnerable times, but it can only make matters worse for their fragile state since they’re pressured to “act” better despite their emotional toll.
Red Flags That Indicate a Teen Needs Help Coping with Grief
It’s common for many teens to mask their grief, but there are tell-tale signs that can help you know they need more than just a shoulder to cry on:
- Sleeping difficulties;
- Low self-esteem;
- Deterioration of close relationships;
- Sudden development of risk-taking behavior like alcohol abuse, sexual experimentation, or drug use;
- Acting overly mature or strong by denying painful feelings;
Finding the right way to respond as a parent, guardian, or friend has its own challenges, but there are things to keep in mind so you can lend a helping hand in these times of need.
Simple Ways to Help Teens Process, Accept, and Cope with Grief
Tip #1: Let Them Be Normal
In a time when teenagers feel out of place, no matter where they are in the status quo, remember that most just want to belong. Fitting in is an important goal of many adolescents, so suddenly, dealing with death throws them out of their reality and makes it harder to achieve a normal life.
Being forced to change their habits, talk about their feelings, or adjust their routine can make coping harder than ever, so one of the best things you can do for your teenager is to support them without singling them out in any way.
Whether it’s to let them continue their after-school activities or go on sleepovers, don’t force them to change in an attempt to teach them to grieve “properly.”
Tip #2: Let Them Feel Better with Friends
Teens always have a more open and closer bond with their friends, so even if it’s hard to see them choosing to discuss feelings with other people, it’s important to let them heal with their supportive circle. So long as you know they have good friends who won’t lead them astray, then letting them lean more on their peers than adults should be healthy for them.
Tip #3: Let Them Show You How They Want to Grieve
So long as they’re not relying on unhealthy habits like alcohol or drugs, it’s okay to let teenagers take the lead. Never force them to feel, think, do, or say what you think is the “right” way to cope, which means if they don’t want to talk about something, try to support them without an overbearing presence.
The Bottom Line: Supporting Your Teens in Ways They Can Appreciate
Moving on from the grief of losing a loved one is a painful experience no matter the age, but coping from the loss can be more challenging for teenagers who are still struggling to express themselves properly. While the tips above can help you handle the situation better, nothing beats the full support professionals can give.
Are You Looking for Life Coaching Programs in Phoenix?
Getting through life’s challenges is no easy task, especially since difficult situations are not the only things you have to worry about. Managing your thoughts, emotions, and relationships can also bring all sorts of trouble when you bottle them inside; that’s why we’re here to help people of all ages develop healthy responses in whatever you have to face ahead.
Eightlimfit offers different activities to improve your physical and mental wellness — from group fitness classes, life coaching programs, and more. We care for the lives in our community, so get in touch with us if you need to realign with your spirit and unlock your potential to seize your goals.