Victor Parachin, who is an ordained minister and has written several books on grieving, reminds us that too often teenagers feel “invisible” or are “forgotten grievers” when there has been a death. Yet, every day a teenager experiences the death of someone they know and love a parent, sibling, grandparent, schoolmate, friend or relative. Like adults, teenagers can feel overwhelmed by such a loss. We must remember that teenagers grieve too.
If you wish to console a teen who is grieving, Victor suggests that you acknowledge their grief. When visiting the funeral chapel or in the home, deliver your condolences to surviving teens as well as the adults in the family.
Here is an example of one teen’s experience on how to best comfort a grieving teen. “When my mom died after a prolonged illness, I was only 16,” recalls Jamie. “At the funeral home, I felt almost completely neglected as everyone came and greeted my dad. Finally, after speaking with my father, one man came over to me and said, ‘Jamie, I’m really sorry about your mother’s death. I know you really took good care of your mother while she was ill. You can feel very good about that. It was obvious to me that you loved your mother very much and that your mother loved you deeply as well.’ That man’s praise and his awareness of my grief lifted my spirits and today, more than a year later, I continue to relish his words in my mind.”
You can read more tips from Victor Parachin in his reference guide, Ways for Teens to Get Through Grief.
Photo credit: Asim Bharwani