The following is an excerpt from The National Alliance for Grieving Children (NAGC) Grief Talk: Talking to a Child or Teen to Let them Know Someone has Died.
Considerations For Teenage Children (13+ years):
• Provide a familiar, distraction-free environment for the conversation about death.
• Help teen find support. Teens will likely seek support from their peers, especially those who have experienced a death. Encourage their participation in peer support groups, if desired.
• Check in with them frequently. Parental support is very important. Briefly share your emotional status or coping method.
• Avoid having them take on too much family responsibility. Some teens may assume responsibility for the family beyond their abilities. Provide tasks for them to choose from to include the teen without overtaxing them.
• Answer questions. Teens may seek additional details and explanations; they are learning.
• Encourage Self- Care. Invite teens to participate in your self-care or provide a list for them to choose from (yoga, bike ride, run, sports).
© 2020 National Alliance for Grieving Children | ChildrenGrieve.org
To connect your teen or young adult to immediate support, consider the National Alliance on Mental Illness Teen & Young Adult HelpLine. To use this resource, text “Friend” to 62640, chat at nami.org/talktou, or call 1-800-950-6264. Their hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET.