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Helping teenagers deal with loss of a parent

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
My DP's family has suffered a loss this weekend - his brother in law died. Leaving two kids, 14 & 18. Although it's DP's family (his sister's kids), he is quite the introvert and works nights, where as I am SAHM and have been offering support wherever I can - making food, offering for the 'kids' to come stay with us, just to give them a place away from all the 'family' and all the logistical stuff that needs to be done.

The 'kids' will be over here with me all day tomorrow, playing with the baby. And I'm hoping to get DSS (who's 4, whom they've always adored), thinking a good distraction of two little ones will be "fun" for them - if that's even possible.

I'm just looking for advice on talking to them. I don't know if I should Try to talk about their pain? Or just ignore it all together... and focus on fun and feeding them or... I dunno. We have a good relationship - they like me, we're all hugs and lovey. But I've never dealt with teenagers who are in such pains... I want to Help and be comfortable.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. TIA!
post #2 of 3
I don't know that you need to deal with it much differently than you would anyone close to you who has suffered the recent loss of a loved one. Hug them, tell them you're sorry, and that you are there for them if they need a hug, to talk, or whatever. And then let them take the lead. And remember that everyone grieves in their own way.
post #3 of 3
I lost both my parents during my teenage years, mom from cancer at 13 and dad of a heart attack at 19. Whatever you do please do acknowledge the loss. With any grieving person we can all feel at a loss to know what to say but ignoring it is the worst option. Teenagers will show signs of grief like anyone else: sadness, depression, anger but they will also want to do normal teen things like see friends go the movies etc. Which can sometimes seem strange to adults in the circumstances but are age appropriate. I think describing what you observe in them or mirroring back to them can be helpful as teens don't always understand or even notice what they are doing so you can help them acknowledge their own shock and devastation and let them know their response is normal (whatever it may be).

As the loss of their dad is so recent their shock could still be very profound so don't be surprised if they forget whole conversations. Make sure you let them know every time you see them that you love them and they can talk to you because it could be sometime before they are ready or able to express themselves to you.
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