Teen Grief Challenges

July 13, 2016

Grieving the death of someone special is hard at any age. For teens, it can be especially challenging. During a time when all they want is to fit in, teens become “different.” Here are six common challenges that teens face when grieving the death of someone special.

Teen Grief Challenges:

  1. Being a teen is about fitting in.  Having a significant death loss in adolescence automatically makes a teen different from friends and peers at a time when being different can hurt.  Therefore, sharing the death loss with others oftentimes is the last thing a teen wants to do.  Unfortunately, if people don’t know what has happened and what the teen may be experiencing, they cannot help.
  2. Adolescence is a time to separate from family and begin to forge one’s own identity. It is normal to spend more time with friends and less time with family members.  Oftentimes, teens will feel a tremendous amount of guilt for “not being there” when their family needed them most.  The guilt may also be accompanied by enormous sadness for having missed an opportunity to spend time with their loved one that they can never get back.
  3. Teens do not want to be treated like children, but do not have the cognitive abilities or coping skills of an adult. They need the adults in their lives to support them throughout their grieving process with togetherness and separateness, however difficult this may be.
  4. Some adults in the teen’s life may expect them to be a substitute parent to their younger siblings. The teen may feel neglected because their younger siblings are consuming their surviving parent’s time and attention.
  5. It can be extremely difficult when a teen’s parent has died and their friends complain, as they often do, about their own parents. A grieving teen would do anything to have their parent alive and with them. This may further alienate them from their peers.
  6. Adolescents are on the cusp of many new, exciting transitions in their lives including prom, high school and college graduation, marriage, and the birth of a child among others. It is very difficult to imagine these events without their parent or other loved one present.

Remember these common challenges when supporting the grieving teens in your life. If you are in need of support for yourself or a grieving teen, Tu Nidito has many options for support.

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