Bereavement in Teens

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Each year thousands of teenagers experience the death of someone they love. When a parent, sibling, friend, or relative dies, teens feel the overwhelming loss of someone who helped shape their -fragile self-identities. Caring adults, whether parents, teachers, counselors or friends, can help teens during this time. If adults are open, honest and loving, experiencing the loss of someone loved can be a chance for young people to learn about both the joy and pain that comes from caring deeply for others. There are many common reactions to trauma, grief, and bereavement among teens. First of all, shock and denial. Feeling numb, stunned and dazed are healthy and normal reactions. Often, it is difficult to “take in” information. The grieved may not have an appetite. People often feel completely exhausted, yet unable to sleep. The reverse may occur where people sleep most of the time. Feelings may range from fear and anxiety to guilt and depression. There are time some may feel they are going crazy. It is healthy to express true feelings in this stage. Some people find relief in crying and or talking to someone.

The next step is searching and yearning. During the time, the bereaved search for what was lost. It is during this period that the most bizarre behavior occurs. Guilt and anger are often a part of this phase, as people search for answers. It is important that the bereaved express feelings, including anger at God- if they have those feelings, jealousy and other strong emotio...

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