In 2020, my teenager lost his grandmother due to the pandemic, and it was devastating. While it was a devastating loss for us as a family, it was especially hard on him. As a teenager, your world feels small, safe, and indestructible. Most adolescents go about their everyday life without preparing for something upsetting or unexpected to happen, so what do you do as a parent when their entire world is rocked?
When it comes to dealing with grief and loss, there are a number of approaches you can take if you have children who are in their teenage years. In many ways, it can be more difficult for them to process a loss than a younger child simply because they have a heightened understanding of the situation. If you want to help your teen through the loss of a family member, here are just a handful of things you can do.
Involve Them in the Memorial
When your teenager experiences their first family loss, it can be a lot for them to process at this age. If you think they are able to handle it, you may want to get them involved in organizing a memorial for your loved one. Whether you’re contacting direct cremation services or looking for beautiful poems to read out during the service, there are a number of different ways you can get them involved. Ask them if they would like to be a part of the memorial or help to organize it in any way; this will help them to feel involved during the process.
Treat Them Gently and Kindly
As you know, teenagers are very sensitive people who need to be handled with care sometimes. Treating your teen gently and with extra kindness will help them to feel supported during this rocky time in their life. If they have never grieved the loss of a loved one before, you need to give them some extra love.
Give Them Space
When your teenager is experiencing the grieving process, it’s important to give them some time and space to process the events in their own way. At first, they may not want to talk to you, which is to be expected. Similarly, they may show signs of shutting you out or ignoring you. Allow them to work through their grief in their own way. Express that you are always there to talk if they ever need anything and keep an open door policy. If you are approachable and kind about the situation, they will feel more comfortable coming to you for advice and support.
When a teenager goes through any sort of unexpected situation, it can be extremely difficult for them to cope with it. This is why these mechanisms mentioned above are there for you to take action whenever you need to. In most cases, teenagers will shut themselves away and won’t want to talk about the situation, but you can gently encourage them to open up about their feelings. Every parent has a completely different relationship with their teenager, so use your instincts when it comes to helping them through the different stages of grief.