By their teens, most people have an adult understanding of death. They will understand that death is permanent and it happens to all people. The implications for themselves and their family are at the forefront of their mind as they come to terms with the death.
It is a difficult time of life when image and friendships are paramount. The challenges for parents of coping with teenagers are well known and bereavement adds a whole new dimension of stress.
Adolescents experience adult emotions without having an adult's ability to express what is happening. They have independence but are not sure how to use that freedom safely. Like many adults, they can at times participate in risk-taking activities as a way of expressing their anger. Parents and carers need to be aware of this risk but also to understand that such behaviour is not unusual. Maintaining close contact with the school is a helpful way of monitoring how a young person is coping, and arranging help if needed.
You can help your teenager by:
- not assuming they can handle their problems
- talking with them about how they are feeling
- discussing feelings of helplessness and sadness
- being honest with them about how you are feeling
- modelling healthy coping behaviours, eating properly and sleeping.
Coronial Family Services can provide advice and information about bereavement counselling services for family members of persons whose deaths are being, or have been, investigated by a Queensland coroner.
Please call +61 7 3096 2794 or 1800 449 171 Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4.30pm or email FSS.email@example.com.
Other services you can contact for support include: