Skip to main content

Grieving Teens and Their Unique Needs

Grieving Teens Have Unique Needs

Being a teenager is difficult enough.  Add to it the stress of grieving a loss and things can become overwhelming. A bereaved teen has a whole new layer of stress added upon whatever stressors were already present: grades, sports, jobs, friendships, relationships and more.

Developmental Differences in Grief

Because of their developmental phase, teens have a completely different experience from both childhood grief and adult grief. Teens understand much more about the permanence of the loss than do children, but they do not yet possess the coping skills of an adult.

Developmentally, teens are trying to establish their own identity, seeking independence from their parents and identifying more with peers than with family.  Anything that makes teens stand apart from or appear “different” than their peers is something most teens will avoid.  Grief and bereavement are something that can make a teen feel “different”.  For many, a loss in the teen years may represent a first-time grief experience.

Peers May Not Be Able to Help

Strong peer affiliation is an important part of the teen years.  It is normal and expected that teens seek most of their support from peers, yet their own-aged cohort generally has limited experience with grief.  The people teens lean on most and rely on for assistance and guidance, may struggle to offer care to their teen friend due to lack of experience with bereavement themselves. 

The Struggle is Real

So, what can you do? You may know that your teen’s peer group has difficulty supporting him, and you also know your teen has been resistant to talking to you.  Should you get outside help?  Is it really necessary? You may wonder if and when a teen needs extra support to deal with grief. 

It can be a tough call, but when in doubt, we say err on the side of caution.  A qualified and licenses mental health person can assess your teen and let you know if services are needed.

Stay Tuned...

In our next post, we’ll be covering symptoms to be aware of and what you should look for when deciding if your teen needs outside help for grief.  We’ll also share the important red flags that require immediate intervention, and issues for which you shouldn’t wait to get help. 

If you are looking for resources to help grieving teens, 
our newest release is now available.
Scroll down to learn more.
Our clinician's pack is being released first,
with individual units for home use
available if you contact me directly
at compcounseling at sbcglobal dot net.


Go HERE to learn more!

Our Complete Clinician's Combo Set 
is available to provide for any teen
clients experiencing the loss of a mother or father.

See the areas covered below:


Included is the BONUS MANUAL (below), which
gives you alternative, creative ways to use these 
workbooks in groups, to use in paperless settings, etc.

An Exclusive Mini-Workbook

The only thing mini about this workbook is it's size (it folds in half, lengthwise).
This workbook boasts 30 pages of prompts to help kids deal with 
multiple types of losses (from death, break-ups and more).

Find it all HERE!


Popular posts from this blog

10 Things That Can Hurt Your Child's Self-Esteem

Self-esteem.  We all want our kids to have it.  We hear tons about HOW to improve our child's self-esteem. What we sometimes don't know are the things that can actually HURT our child's burgeoning sense of self.
A World of Endless Possibilities
When our kids have self-esteem, the world is an endless source of possibilities.  Possessing an awareness of one’s self that includes confidence and the ability to be an effective agent in one’s own life has a significant impact upon happiness across the lifespan.  The question is how to help our kids develop and maintain it for life.  Helping to instill this characteristic is not as elusive as you might think. 
There are many parenting strategies that contribute to raising ethical, successful and confident kids. Bloom: 50 Things to Say, Think and Do with Anxious, Angry and Over-the-Top Kids, which I co-authored with Dr. Lynne Kenney, highlights an approach which is the most promising way I know to raise incredible peop…

How BIG is Your Child's Anger?

What Size is Your Child's Anger?
Whenever I work with a child with anger issues, I like to have them describe the size of their anger.  Is it small, medium, large or super-sized?  Some kids never move beyond "medium" while others go from "small" to "super-sized" in mere seconds.  We can thank temperament for that, in large part. 
If you parent a child with a strong temperament and BIG feelings, you are probably no stranger to "large" and "super-sized" displays of anger.  I have certainly seen my fair share, both as a mom and as a therapist. 
The Good News
The good news is, we can help our kids learn how to regulate BIG feelings by giving them opportunities to talk about their feelings, name their feelings and identify ways to "shrink down" the intenstiy of it all.  I know that this works, because I've seen it in action (both at home, and at my office).
Simply download our free printable to start the discussio…

Why Labeling Feelings is So Important: Beyond Mad, Sad & Glad

Helping kids put their feelings into words (affect labeling) can help them better navigate strong, negative emotional experiences. We tend to "keep it simple" when talking about feelings with young children and may often stick to the basics, such as mad, glad and sad. That is all well and good. Once our children have mastered that, we can move on to a bigger variety of emotionally descriptive words. We can increase our child's understanding of a bigger expanse of feelings by broadening the terms we use.

Stumped about what feeling words to use beyond the three aforementioned? Try some of these on for size...

BraveCheerfulWorried JoyfulFrightenedCalmExcitedConfusedFrustratedCuriousFriendlyShy IgnoredLonelyInterestedProudEmbarrassedJealousAngryBored Surprised SillyUncomfortableStubbornSafeRelievedPeaceful OverwhelmedLovingCranky

Why it Matters:

We've long thought that naming our feelings could help us manage negative emotional states, but we weren't quite sure how exact…