Grieving is a rough experience for everybody, no matter what age. Teens, in particular, seem to process grief in their own way and respond better to adults who empathize with them and offer them company along the way.
We have to understand that teens are already dealing with a lot of emotional development at this stage in their life, and grief, like any unexpected occurrence, will have us reeling from it. Imagine losing someone in your family, like your parents or siblings? How about your peers?
The only way that we as adults can help them grieve is through our steady presence and understanding. Here are some gentle yet meaningful ways you can help your teen grieve.
1. Let Them Know It’s Normal
Grieving, of course, is a natural response to death. Something that happens so suddenly might have you losing control of your emotions, thoughts, or physical feelings. Losing this sense of control may have teens feeling overwhelmed and frightened, and all alone to deal with it.
It helps to let them know that grieving is natural so that they don’t feel out of control and afraid. Reach out to them and let them feel all of their emotions. The more they resist, the harder it is to process.
In these simple ways, you can help your teen in their grieving process.
2. Allow Them to Grieve in Their Own Ways
There is no blueprint of which to grieve. Every person grieves in their own way, and teenagers are no different. There is no inherently right or wrong way to grieve, so don’t be too surprised if your teen acts differently. Some teens grieve through sadness and crying, while others find coping mechanisms in humor and laughter.
Allow your teen to cope with their grief in any way they can. May it be by talking to their friends, journaling, creative projects, or simply by being there to talk to them.
It is important to note that while there is no right or wrong way to grieve, there are still certain patterns of behavior that may be harmful to teens if they continue down this path. This may include alcohol or substance abuse, reckless sexual activity, antisocial behavior, and more.
3. Understand That Death Is Experienced Differently
The way teens grieve will be dependent on their own personalities and their relationship with the deceased. They might grieve differently for a friend, a close relative, a parent, or a sibling. Even the loss of romantic partners will allow for a different sort of grief.
They will not often have the same responses to death. While one teen might prefer to talk about their experiences with the deceased, you might find another teen closed off and hesitant to participate.
If you don’t understand that your teens grieve differently, this might cause misunderstandings and tension in the family. Try to understand where your teens are coming from and keep in mind that even day-to-day responses could change at a moment’s notice.
4. Be a Strong Support System
As the adult in their lives, it is important to appear as a strong anchor that is ready to listen and learn from them. Grief is terrible, and no one should be alone to carry its weight on their shoulders.
Be a shoulder to cry on or lend an ear to your teens, and they will appreciate it.
At the end of the day, grief is an ongoing process. It may never go away, but its intensity may dwindle over time. Nevertheless, without a support system to keep them anchored, teens may fall into wayward acts of grieving. As long as the adults in their life have their best interests in mind, it should make grief easier to carry.
If you know a teen that needs help processing their grief, consult with Eighlimfit. We have the best life coaches to give your teen the right guidance. Having a solid support system is a must for grief. Consult with us today.