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Signs Your Teen Is Experiencing Grief

experiencing grief

Loss is a normal part of the human experience, and grief is a person’s natural reaction to that loss. Everyone, at one point or another throughout the course of their lives, will spend time experiencing grief. Grief, therefore, is a universal experience, but also a deeply personal one that impacts each individual differently. This is especially true when it comes to teen grief and teen loss.

If your child is struggling in the aftermath of a tragedy, contact us online or call 888.291.2309 today to learn about how our grief and loss therapy for teens can help ease their pain and provide them with the tools required for moving forward. 

Teen Grief And Loss

Like adults do, teens also know what it is like experiencing grief and suffering a loss. Unlike mature adults with life experience to help them process the intense sadness in their lives, young people are still new to coping with teen grief and processing loss.

If someone close to your teenager, a family member or a friend perhaps, has passed away or if they have experienced a significant loss, like the death of a beloved family pet, or are having difficulty making sense of a major life change such as a parent’s divorce, grief and loss therapy for teens can help them make sense of the caustic changes they are being made to adjust to in their young lives.

Grief is a natural response not only to the death of a loved one but also to other life events, including:

  • A parents divorce or separation
  • The death of a sibling or close friend
  • Being diagnosed with an illness
  • A disability
  • Losing a family pet
  • Moving to a new home
  • Changing schools

Symptoms of Teen Grief

The symptoms of teen grief will vary in intensity and duration from person to person, and the type of reactions to grief and teen loss will also depend on the child. That said, most teens will experience at least some common symptoms, such as sorrow, numbness, guilt, depression, and anger.

It’s very common for adolescents and teens to eventually have to experience and cope with the death of a loved one or friend. In fact, 90% of 1,000 high school juniors and seniors polled said they had experienced the death of a loved one, and one of every 20 children age 15 and younger will experience the death of one or both parents. School teachers observe many episodes of teen grief and report noticing difficulty concentrating in students experiencing grief after losing a parent or guardian. Other signs of a teen experiencing grief include:

  • Withdrawal and participating less at school
  • Absenteeism
  • Decrease in academic performance
  • Lack of interest in completing school assignments.

Signs Your Teen Is Experiencing Grief

Tragic loss and traumatic life events can cause teens to be confused, angry, and feel a new set of emotions, one which they do not yet have a framework for processing. Without life skills to properly respond to and process grief and teen loss, adolescents may:

  • Feel a heaviness in their chest or tightness in the throat
  • Have an empty feeling in their stomach and a loss of appetite
  • Be harboring guilt over something said or done, or something left unsaid or undone.
  • Experience anger and lash out at others, including anger at the deceased for dying
  • Suffer mood changes and unexpected crying fits
  • Feel restless and have difficulty concentrating
  • Talking to pictures, try conversing with the deceased in a special place
  • Have troubling dreams
  • Assume the mannerisms, traits or even start to wear the favorite clothes of the deceased
  • Regress emotionally, wet the bed
  • Have the strong need to retell and remember things about their loved one
  • Not be able to say anything, or have the urge to be overly responsible
  • Take on the role of the man or woman of the household
  • Try to distract themselves from their own feelings by taking care of everyone else

Watching your teenager suffer can make you feel helpless. During counseling for teen grief, teenagers will have the opportunity to open up. By doing so, they can learn to trust and discover how to handle their grief, loss, and sadness in a healthy way. At Imagine Fort Collins, we share your goal of helping your teen learn and grow, heal and move forward as a healthy, happy young adult. 

Learn More at Imagine Fort Collins

If you observe any of the signs that your teen is experiencing grief, our grief and teen loss counselors at Imagine Fort Collins are ready to provide the professional support needed to help your teen heal and recover. Don’t hesitate to call us 888.291.2309 or contact our team online today to learn more about how our grief and loss therapy for teens can help.