How a Teen Copes After A Parent Dies

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Coping with change is difficult but when you have to cope with the death of a loved one it is a battle. For a teen this can be one of the hardest experiences that they’ll have to go through; especially when it’s a parent.

As children we learn to love, laugh, explore, and enjoy life through the example of our parents. They are the ones that teach us our first word, teach us how to ride a bike, teach us how to drive a car, and they are the ones we call when life is taking a toll on who we are. No they aren’t given a manual on “How to be a great parent” on the day of our birth, but they settle into their new role and offer guidance, support, encouragement, and love.

When a loved one is taken from us whether it is by accident or through illness, our life is turned upside down and for a teen their entire world can be shattered. I’ve listed some of the emotions that they may go through after the death of a parent and also ways to bring healing to the troubled heart.

1. Shock-On a typical day, a teen gets up, gets ready for school, and says goodbye to his parents. They don’t question whether or not they’ll be seeing them after school. They just know that they’ll be there waiting for them. When the opposite happens, they go into shock. Not necessarily the medical type of shock but just dumbfounded and not able to wrap their minds around what happened.

2. Denial-When the unthinkable happens we don’t always want to accept the fact that the one that is so important to us has gone. So when a teen looses a parent they struggle with this truth and deny the reality of it all.

3. Depression-Depression is one of the most common emotions and when a teen has to say goodbye to a parent they sometimes will sink into a depression that sends them on a downward spiral. If this is the case then medication and therapy may be needed to help the teen get on the path to healing.

4. Fear-When fear sets in the mind of the teen left behind it can be consuming. They may question if what happened to their parent will happen to them. Depending on the level of fear this can cause them other health conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, and feelings of being sick even though they are not.

There are many different ways to help the teen cope and get through the tough times which I’ve listed here.

1. Support Groups-Having a group of people that can relate to what you go through while mourning is very helpful. They understand the feelings because they’ve been there and they know how to be there as a friend.

2. Church Groups-Visiting with a Pastor or other member of the church is beneficial to the teen because they can help them with their questions about God and if they aren’t sure what happens after death.

3. Counseling-Speaking to a person that is not related is beneficial because they can give the teen tools that can be used while mourning. They aren’t close to the teen or the family so their emotions aren’t involved and they’ve been trained to help those struggling with loss.

4. Family-Maintaining a close relationship with family will help because they also share the feelings of loss.

 The loss of a parent will leave a person feeling empty but with the support, encouragement, and understanding of loved ones, they can carry on and healing can take place in their heart.


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