Here’s a fact that many parents forget: coping with loss as a teenager is much different than dealing with it as an adult. It’s relatively common to have lost at least one close person in your life or experienced something mildly traumatic by the time you reach your mid-twenties. Many teens work through it fine, but some struggle.
Those that struggle usually were never taught how to deal with grief or loss, causing them to lash out in unhealthy ways. Coping with loss is an essential skill in life. Teaching your child how to effectively work through grief and loss will help their in the future when she’s inevitably faced with that difficult moment.
How coping with loss is different in teens
Coping with loss shows itself in different ways for teens than it does for older folks. Understanding these differences can greatly help a parent in helping their teen cope with a loss in their life.
Teens are more likely to experience sudden or traumatic losses. Almost three-quarters of all deaths between the ages of 12 and 19 are caused by accidents, homicide, and suicide. That means that it’s not incredibly rare for a teen to experience a loss. Even losses that would be considered “natural” tend to feel more unexpected than it would for an adult.
Leaning towards isolating in the face of trauma. During the adolescent years, it’s pretty natural for teens to drift away from their parents—but this also makes it harder for them to seek out support from their parents when they’re hurting. If a student has passed away at your teen’s school, it’s good to just take a moment to have a calm, private conversation about whether they knew the person or not.
Fear of what others may think. The teenage years are filled with insecurity and a yearning to fit in. Because of this, in the face of coping with loss, they may try to act as if they aren’t affected by it. They may be afraid to be considered “the girl or child assigned female at birth whose mom died.” As a parent or guardian, it’s good to continue to watch for any signs of struggle with loss.
They may try to cover it up by acting out. One of the most common ways of coping with loss in teens is to act out. They start experimenting with drugs, alcohol, or begin skipping school. These “delinquent” behaviors act as a way for them to try to cope with or forget about the trauma they’re going through. Teens usually turn to acting out when they haven’t been guided towards a healthier way of coping with loss.
Solstice is here for your daughter
Solstice is a groundbreaking residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18. Our girls and assigned female at birth often grapple with depression, issues with coping with loss, low self-esteem, anxiety, trauma, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral problems when they come to us.
Through a unique combination of therapeutic programs based upon both traditional and holistic mental health treatment, we treat our clients with age and gender specific techniques. We strive to empower teenage people with the ability to believe in themselves and provide the tools and motivation required to instill these beliefs for life.
For more information about how we help teens in coping with loss at Solstice, please contact us at (866) 278-3345.