If your teen lost a close friend or grandparent to cancer, they may go through the different stages of grief, including denial and anger. Because of their significance, denial and anger can be the most difficult stages to go through. Unless you help your loved one overcome the denial and anger they feel, they may become depressed and withdrawn from the world around them. Here are ways you can help your grieving teen embrace life again.
Understand Denial and Anger
Grief is comprised of five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Although each stage of grief can affect people differently, denial and anger are often the most crucial and emotionally-challenging stages that occur in life. Denial occurs when someone refuses to accept the loss of a loved one. For instance, your teen may say or do things that make you and other people question their emotional state, such as pretend to talk or see the deceased individual in school or at home.
Once your teen realizes that their loved one is gone, they may become angry and withdrawn. Your beloved teen may go through changes that affect them personally, emotionally, and physically. For example, some grieving teens turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with their anger. Other teens may engage in unprotected sex and other risky behavior to cope with the loss.
Although it may seem hopeless at this stage, you can help your loved one embrace life again.
Help Your Teen Move On
It's critical that you don't argue, push, or threaten your teen during this difficult time in their life. If your teen feels threatened or bullied, they may refuse to accept your help. Your teen may become angrier in the process.
Some teens may actually turn to people outside their homes that may or may not have their best interests at heart. A growing number of grieving teens join gangs, engage in violent video games, and commit crimes. You can avoid losing your loved one's trust by allowing them to speak candidly about their loss. Sometimes, simply listening to a grieving person can help them come to terms with their loss.
If your teen doesn't feel inclined to speak about their grief, contact a grief counseling service, such as Lifeline. Grief counselors can use different methods to help your loved one fight through their pain, including group counseling and field trips. A counselor can discuss the best ways to help your loved one when they consult with you.