Two adolescents on a walk in the woods.

Grief and Our Youth

A child or teen dealing with grief can have a difficult time trying to navigate through their feelings and emotions, and this can cause family members to feel helpless or lost not knowing how to alleviate the pain. A lot of confusion and frustration can ensue, and a family member or supportive friend may not understand how to help fully.

Firstly, support is essential even when you may not know what to say to help, just lending an ear to the child grieving is already helpful. Everyone needs support, even when they say they don’t.

For the helpers, try not to push, just make sure the child or teen knows you are there whenever they need you. A child or teen grieving may not understand what they are feeling and being questioned may feel like pressure. The child or teen may be worried they will upset you as well if you are yourself grieving. Remember, just making yourself available to the person grieving, whether through a phone call or hug lets them know you are there.

For the child or teen grieving, I am very sorry for your loss. Death is a part of life, but it may feel like a very unfair part. You may feel cheated, angry, or question why this happened. All of these feelings are normal and part of the grieving process.

You are not alone in this struggle and others are feeling similar pain. Try to breathe through all of your feelings, sadness, anger, confusion, guilt. Our breath is our energy and part of our soul, and your breath is always with you. Close your eyes and take three deep breaths, feel the breath move through your body, from your belly to your lungs.

Let your tears flow, tears are healing. If you haven’t cried, that is ok, everyone heals differently. Be patient with yourself and take time to do things you enjoyed before you suffered a loss. Things may feel different right now, but these differences do not mean you won’t be able to enjoy them again.

Reach out to the people around you who are there to support you, you need them as much as they need you. If you are having trouble verbalizing (talking about) your feelings, writing in a journal or diary may help. You can make a journal out of paper and staples or tape, or just a piece of paper will do just fine. Write or draw what you are feeling, do not restrict yourself, all feelings are accepted and welcome. You can keep your journal to yourself or share your feelings with a loved one or friend. You are allowed to have your private thoughts and feelings so keep them to yourself if you feel more comfortable.

The most important thing is to get your feelings out, keeping them in will feel like a fire in your soul. You will get through this, the pain will get easier to deal with, but may not go away. When someone or something touches our soul, they will always be a part of us, but the pain will get easier with time and support. If you ever need help, we are here and ready to listen.