Coping with loss can be challenging. There are a variety of reasons that teens may experience grief during their adolescence such as the death of a loved one, the loss of a pet, or the departure of a close friend. Grief is a challenging emotion to navigate through and can take quite a toll on young adults. Teens are already navigating through a difficult time in their life when emotions are unpredictable and relationships are vital to their mental well-being.
The loss of such a relationship can deeply impact their overall health and well-being. It is therefore extremely important to offer grieving teens support and opportunities to build their coping strategies and learn how to healthily manage their emotions and grief. This article will be a guide to teen grief and loss treatment. If you know of a grieving young adult, this guide to teenage grief and loss treatment is for them. This article will help you find grief activities for young adults to help them work through coping with death.
The grieving process looks different for every unique individual and this means that the coping strategies implemented to assist in the healing process can differ as well. For young adults, however, the coping mechanisms they may tend towards can oftentimes be destructive or harmful to themselves or others without helpful advice and guidance from loving adults in their lives.
If teens are not shown constructive ways to cope with their grief, they may find themselves in positions where they are making harmful decisions. For example, some teens may turn towards drug use, physical fights, or sexual promiscuity after experiencing emotional trauma in the form of loss.
These coping mechanisms can be quite unhealthy for young adults and may lead to more harmful life choices further down the line. Therefore, it is extremely important for caring adults to lead teens and young adults toward healthy coping mechanisms after the initial experience of grief and trauma.
Developing healthy and constructive coping mechanisms can help prevent teens from starting down a path of reckless and impulsive behavior. It is very important to show young adults the support they need right away. This help and guiding behavior can lead them through the grief journey and give them the tools to succeed later in life. Grief is an emotion that every human will experience, oftentimes more than once, and by guiding a teen through this difficult time, you can help them to be better prepared for future losses.
Many people wonder whether grief affects teens and young adults differently than other age groups. The answer to that question is, yes. Grief does impact teens and adolescents differently than other age groups. This is partly due to the differences in brain development, especially between teens and fully grown adults.
The teenage brain is operating at a time when emotions are highly active and often are felt on a much deeper level. After experiencing a traumatic loss, some teens may try to keep their emotions and feelings hidden from others to prevent further pain or give off the illusion of being tough and resilient. Oftentimes, teens confuse hiding emotion with appearing mature and the suppression of these feelings can frequently lead to periods of volatility where lashing out is common. These periods where teens remain guarded can be exhausting not only for young adults but for their families and loved ones as well.
Grief and the trauma of loss can deeply affect teens because they understand and comprehend the true gravity of the situation. For small children, many do not understand the concept of the seriousness of loss and death. They are too young to fully understand the significance of the death or loss of a loved one. Teens on the other hand can fully grasp the finality of loss and death. This genuine understanding of the concept of death can leave them feeling hopeless and lost.
For teens experiencing grief and the loss of a loved one, the experience can feel very isolating. Many of their friends will not be able to relate to grief as they are likely to have not experienced it in their personal lives. This feeling of isolation can leave grieving teens feeling lonely and lost. This social distance between their lived experiences and those of their friends can make it seem difficult to meet up and socialize casually.
For a teen dealing with the loss of a loved one, the world can seem frozen in time. However, it often seems like the rest of the world keeps moving without ever understanding the deep pain a grieving teen feels.
It is not uncommon for a teen to be overlooked when a family is dealing with the loss of a loved one. Oftentimes, adults may feel as though a teen is old enough to navigate and deal with the extreme loss all on their own. This can lead to even more isolation and trauma for the grieving teen. It is always important to offer ample amounts of support to grieving teens so that they can feel cared for and seen during this traumatizing time in their life.
In cases where the parent of a teen may pass away, the teen can commonly be left in a caregiver position or role. This is an immense amount of responsibility to be placed on an individual that is much too young to be taking on a parental role within their household. This can often have lasting repercussions on the teen, leaving them ill-equipped to see to their own emotional needs.
This may even result in the teen denying their grief to offer support to younger siblings. This can stunt their ability to communicate their emotional needs and may harm their ability to cope and deal with grief in the future. If you know a teen that has lost a parent, make sure to check in on them regularly to ensure that they can live and cope as a young adult rather than an adult.
It is to be expected that teens will feel lost and isolated after the passing of a loved one. It is therefore extremely important for you to be there for them during this difficult time. It is essential to check in on them regularly and inquire about their mental and physical well-being. Sometimes teens can be overlooked during the grieving process and acknowledging their pain and the validity of their emotions can help them to feel seen and cared for.
There are a variety of activities for grief therapy that may help. This means that you should offer support to your grieving teen on both the good and bad days. Coping with grief is never a simple path and it can often feel like an endless roller coaster filled with good and bad days alike. Ensuring that the grieving teen in your life feels supported through all of that turmoil can help them to build trust and develop healthy coping mechanisms.
Another tip when helping teens through grief is to remind them that life is filled with a variety of good and bad experiences. This may be the first major challenge they have had to face within their lives, but it will not be the last. By expressing the uncertainty of life, you can help them to realize that it is very important for them to prioritize themselves and their overall well-being. You can sit down with them to explain that taking time to process their emotions and gain perspective is an extremely valuable coping skill that can help them navigate through hardships in the future. It can often feel counterproductive to sit and acknowledge the difficult emotions that accompany grief, but naming and addressing those negative feelings can help you to heal in the long run.
You can also help a teen manage their grieving emotions by simply asking them how they are feeling. This simple action can help a grieving teen feel both seen and heard during an extremely challenging time. This acknowledgment of their thoughts and emotions can help them to piece together their feelings about the entire situation. The ability to talk through how they are handling the situation can help them to process and heal after the passing of a loved one. However, there is a fine line to tread when checking in with a grieving teen.
Make sure that you are respectful of their boundaries. Hovering or constantly inquiring about how they are feeling can often leave teens feeling smothered and may lead to even further repression of certain emotions. This therefore can halt some progress towards growth and healing. Make sure to pay attention to the cues that your grieving teen is giving you and adjust your strategy accordingly. Sometimes the simple act of checking in on a teen's well-being can help them to feel supported and loved during difficult times.
Another great tip for helping teens work through their grief is to allow them to spend quality time with their friends and other people their age. Some teens find it difficult to talk about their emotions or feelings with adults or older people. It is also common for teens to be surrounded by quite a few adults after the passing of a loved one.
This can leave grieving teens feeling lonely and unseen, so allowing them to socialize with their peers and friends can help give them a sense of comfort. Teens often rely on their friends to form an emotional outlet and allowing them to socialize during the grieving period can allow your teen to express their emotions with people they care for deeply. Hanging out with their friends can also help them to gain perspective and realize that their lives will continue to move along even after the passing of a loved one. Spending time with their friends can offer them some semblance of normal life and can help distract them from the constant pain of loss.
Grief and death can often disrupt the daily routine of teens and this can greatly impact their mental and physical well-being. Implementing a certain amount of normalcy back into their lives after a serious loss can help them to feel grounded amid so much uncertainty.
This section of the article will walk you through the top 15 activities to help grieving teens navigate through this difficult time in their life. These might differ from grief activities for adults and grief activities for kids. These suggestions may help a grieving teen you know feel more at peace and grounded after struggling with a serious loss.
One of the most challenging parts of losing a dear loved one is fearing the loss of memories with time. It is very natural to worry that you will forget what a person was like or what they enjoyed doing in their free time. This stress can be very apparent for teens and grief that they have experienced can take a toll.
A great way to minimize this fear is to encourage the grieving teen to create a collage out of images and words that they feel truly represent the individual that has passed away. Try collecting a few different magazines so that the teen can cut out pictures or phrases that remind them of their deceased loved one. This can help them to feel more at peace throughout the whole situation.
Another great activity meant to relieve teens' loss is to encourage them to write or draw whatever comes to mind on a large piece of mural paper taped to the wall. Oftentimes teens and death can be confusing when they are navigating through the grieving process, and it can be challenging to identify what emotions are bombarding their minds. Therefore, the ability to create and draw whatever they feel like can become a very cathartic activity. Hanging up a large piece of mural paper on the wall can also allow the teen to continue to add to their work.
Expressing emotions through written words can often help grieving individuals process their emotions and feelings. Therefore, it is a great idea to encourage grieving teens to write poems, eulogies, or songs about their loved ones that have passed. This is an especially helpful strategy when working with teens that do not want to open up to other adults in their life. Some teens struggle with expressing or talking about their trauma and emotions regarding grief and loss.
Sometimes when working through grief, it is important to let intense attachments to the deceased go. However, this process can be extremely challenging for teens that are working through grief for the first time. A wonderful and symbolic way to release that attachment can be through crafting a heartfelt message and releasing it inside a balloon.
Crafting a letter addressed to the deceased loved one can allow the grieving teen to let go of intense attachment and pain associated with the loss of a loved one. The act of releasing the message-containing balloon can symbolize a period of growth for the grieving teen.
It is not uncommon for teens to fight with people in their lives due to adolescent stresses and fluctuating hormones. This can sometimes mean that teens were in the midst of a fight with a loved one before they passed away. A great way to help a teen through this difficult time is to encourage them to write a letter to the deceased in order to resolve the conflict. By resolving the issue in written form, the teen can often begin to process the loss and manage their emotions more healthily.
If you know a teen that is struggling with the loss of a loved one, you might consider suggesting that they build a memorial garden for their deceased loved one. It can be challenging for a teenager losing a family member to adjust to their new reality. Grieving teens may catch themselves expecting to see the deceased or may find themselves wishing they could share life milestones with their loved one that has passed away.
Creating a memorial garden to honor the deceased can help teens to cope with this loss. A memorial garden can act as a constant connection between the grieving teen and their loved one. It can create a space for the teen to turn to when they are feeling especially lonely or wish to share major milestones with their loved one that is no longer alive. They can sit amidst the deceased's favorite plants and talk with them in a way that can promote healing and recovery.
If the deceased family member or friend is being cremated, you can help a grieving teen by showing them cremation urns from which they can choose. Affordable urns for burial can be customizable and allowing the teen to select from popular urns can help them feel a stronger connection with their lost loved one. The teen can select an urn that features engravings or certain materials that the deceased would have enjoyed. This process can help to bring them closure and assist them during their grief journey. Everlasting Memories offers helpful articles that can assist you in selecting an urn.
This is a great way to keep helping a teen cope with loss. If the deceased's remains are being placed within a cremation urn, the teen can also help determine where to display the urn. This involvement with the burial process can help the teen to feel included and cared for during this difficult time.
It can also give the teen a sense of closure which is very important in the healing process. While helping a teen cope with death can be challenging this activity can help them heal.
As mentioned above, some teen struggle with the worry that they will begin to forget certain things about their deceased loved one. For example, some teens feel worried that they will forget what the deceased individual looked like or sounded like.
To help your teen through this difficult time, you can assist them in creating a scrapbook of memories that the teen has with the deceased loved one. This can help the teen remember joyful times and will ensure that they will always have a physical reminder of their loved one that has passed away. This is a great way to help a teen cope with the loss of a loved one.
Another wonderful way to assist a teenager with loss is to work with them to compile a list of the deceased's favorite places to visit. You can then take the teen to those different places in order to help them feel a stronger connection with their loved one that has passed away. Taking time to learn more about their lost loved one while traveling to locations that the deceased individual enjoyed can allow the teen to navigate through this difficult time.
Some teens may prefer to actively participate in activities rather than talk about their feelings when they are working through grief after the loss of a loved one. If you know a grieving teen that enjoys cooking or baking, you may suggest that they create the deceased loved one's favorite meal or dessert.
You can help the teenager with death by encouraging them to write down and then cook the recipe. This activity can help the teen feel a close connection with their loved one that has passed away. The act of cooking can also keep them busy so they are not dwelling on the negative aspects of losing a loved one.
Some teens may benefit from attending a group therapy session to work through their emotions and trauma associated with the death of a loved one. Placing them in a grief therapy group can help connect them to people their own age that are struggling with similar losses. This sense of understanding can help the teen to feel less alone during this difficult time. The therapy group may serve as a helpful outlet for them to express their fears and emotions that come from the loss of a loved one.
Nature is known to have positive impacts on mental health and well-being. This means that taking a grieving teen on a hike through nature may help them to feel more at peace following the passing of a loved one. Taking time to quiet their minds and appreciate the world around them may offer valuable perspective and help reduce the stress and sadness that often accompany the loss of a loved one. Physical exercise can also assist them with feeling more energetic and calm during this stressful time.
If you know a grieving teen that likes to wear necklaces or rings, you might consider supporting teens through grief by choosing a special piece of memorial jewelry to honor the memory of the loved one that has passed away.
Companies like Everlasting Memories create a variety of keepsake jewelry pieces that can memorialize those that have passed away with items like picture dog tags for teens, fingerprint jewelry, handwriting jewelry, and cremation jewelry.
The grieving teen can select a photo engraved necklace for a teen or a piece of jewelry such as a cremation necklace to honor their loved one that has passed. Items like fingerprint jewelry for teen grievers, cremation jewelry for teen grievers, remembrance jewelry for teen grievers, and handwriting jewelry for teen grievers can then be worn every day. Turning ashes into jewelry for teen grievers can help them feel a constant connection to their lost loved one. These pieces are all expertly crafted and can be personalized to suit any unique need. Better yet, you can give the teen memorial packages that include jewelry. Check out this article or this guide to pick out the right pieces to suit your needs.
Another great way to help a teen cope with grief in a healthy way is to assist them in creating a scholarship fund or charity in honor of the loved one that has passed away. If the deceased individual was passionate about a specific cause, you can assist the teen in creating a charity that honors that cause and the departed loved one.
This activity can help the teen not only process their grief in a healthy way but can also allow them to give back to a certain community or group. This activity will enable them to work through their emotions while also assisting others in need and this can positively impact them for years to come.
As mentioned above, if teens are not well supported during a time of grief, it is not uncommon for them to turn to less-than-healthy coping mechanisms to deal with their emotions. This section of the article will walk you through some of the warning signs that a grieving teen may need direct intervention from a responsible and loving adult in their life.
Some teens that are struggling with the loss of a loved one may turn to substance abuse to deal with their feelings and the unwelcome emotions that often accompany grief and the death of a loved one. This may look different for every teen, but if you know a teen that has turned to alcohol or drug use to cope with their feelings, make sure to seek immediate help for those individuals.
These things to do with a grieving teen can lead to addiction and can often damage the physical and mental well-being of the young adult. Many grieving teens feel lost and alone and therefore turn to substance abuse to cope. Make sure that you show the grieving teen love and support during this difficult time. You can help them to make smart choices by offering alternative coping strategies and activities such as the ones listed above and seeking professional help for the struggling teen.
Another indication that a teen may need additional support during the grieving time is if you begin to notice sleep disruptions or changes in their eating patterns. Significant changes in motivation or other important life habits can indicate that a teen may be struggling under the surface with their grief and sadness after the loss of a loved one. If you notice any of these changes, make sure to reach out to the teen and seek additional professional guidance in order to ensure that the grieving teen is receiving full emotional and physical support during this challenging time.
If you hear a grieving teen mention or discuss ideas of self-harm or suicide, make sure to immediately reach out to professionals for help and guidance. Teens that are struggling with the loss of a loved one often feel very isolated and alone which can lead to thoughts of self-harm or suicide. If you notice or suspect a grieving teen may be considering this, make sure to immediately intervene and create an action plan that will promote healing and support for this teen. While loss can seem debilitating at times, it is important to show grieving teens that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You can help them to realize that things will get better and the pain of loss will lessen with time and the utilization of healthy coping mechanisms.
If you are searching for additional resources to help your teen through the grieving process, you can start by consulting your teen's general care physician. They will often have recommendations and can refer you to a mental health or adolescent grief specialist. Oftentimes, seeking professional help can be one of the best ways to help your teen cope with the loss of a loved one. These professionals have years of experience and expertise in assisting young people deal with their emotions after experiencing loss.
Another great resources for grieving teens are grief therapists that can help them cope with loss and difficult emotions. Some grief therapists may also recommend that teens join grief therapy groups that specialize in assisting young people deal with loss and death. These groups can help teens feel less alone as they are able to share their emotions with other teens that are experiencing similar struggles. Other local and community resources such as local clergy, priests, or pastors can also assist your teen in the grieving process.
Make sure to communicate your support and love for them during this time. Showing you care deeply for them and will take care of them can help them feel less afraid for the future. You can also help them to identify healing activities such as grief activities for young adults that will allow them to process their grief safely.
Creating art or writing down their emotions are both great ways for teens to sort through their emotions following the death of a loved one. These outlets are safe and healthy ways for them to cope with their emotions. If they are unwilling to talk to you about their feelings, expressing themselves through art or writing may make the grief more bearable.
Grief counseling is very important for a teenager and loss, as their brains are still developing. This means that they process loss and grief differently from adults and may need more professional help and guidance. They are at a time in their lives where they might not understand or know the healthiest coping mechanisms and counseling can assist them in developing safe tools to work through grief.
The stages of grief for a teenager remain the same as those for adults, however for a teenager and death of a loved one, this can mean their grief is experienced differently than adult grief. Experiencing grief as a teen can cause them to feel pressure to bottle up their emotions and act in a way that they feel shows their maturity. However, it is important that teens feel safe enough to express their fear, sadness, and anger at the loss of a loved one.
There are a few different warning signs that can indicate whether your teen is struggling with grief. Make sure to pay attention to any changes in their sleeping or eating habits. If you notice that your teen is lacking motivation or does not find their previous interests worthwhile, make sure to reach out to a mental health professional or grief counselor.
The grieving process is challenging and painful for many people, especially teens or young adults. It can be easy to assume that teens will be able to handle grief on their own as they are almost fully grown, however, they are extremely vulnerable during this challenging time and need support and attention more than ever. Make sure to pay close attention to your teens as they navigate through this difficult time.
Expressing your concern and care for their well-being can help them feel seen and valued which is extremely important as they work through difficult emotions. Taking time to help them identify healthy coping mechanisms and healing activities such as assisting in the selection of a burial urn for a deceased loved one can help them to feel grounded during a tumultuous time.
August 29, 2023 by Frances Kay