Teenage female grieving with face in her hands

Grief In Teens – Part 1

By guest author
KAYLA WRIGHT
Licensed Christian Counselor
Specialist in Child & Adolescent Therapy
Life Training Christian Counseling

“Jesus wept.”

John 11:35 NIV

These words aren’t many, but they carry the weight of a Savior who grieves with those he loves. There are only three times Jesus is mentioned crying in scripture, all of which surround grief. In John chapter 11, he is grieving the death of his friend, Lazarus. In Luke chapter 19, Jesus grieves the state of the souls in Jerusalem. And in Hebrews 5, we see Jesus cry in grief over the suffering he knows the cross will bring. Our Savior is not one who cannot understand our grief. He knows it very personally. In this blog, we will discuss how teens experience grief in death, and in the following blog, we will discuss other situations where teens also experience grief.

Teens today are very familiar with death. According to Glenn Lutjens in his article, “Living With Healthy Grief,” the average child witnesses 8,000 murders on television by the time they leave elementary school. Additionally, according to the CDC, there were 49,449 deaths by suicide in 2022. While teens have in many ways been desensitized to death, it is a very real need for them to know how to grieve in a healthy way. Glenn Lutjens breaks down grief into 4 tasks.

Accept the reality of the loss.

Initially, especially with deaths that are sudden or unexpected, it can be difficult to acknowledge an individual is no longer near. This can look like refusing to change a space they once occupied, continuing to talk about the individual as if they are still living, or avoiding conversations surrounding the person’s death, among other things. Part of the grieving process is to be able to accept the reality that an individual is no longer with you. From this space, a teen is able to face some of the emotions included in their loss.

Work through the pain of the grief.

I often say healing and growth take space and grace. No two individuals work through their grief the same. It requires grace to allow themselves to grieve at their own pace and in their own way. It also requires space for them to fully acknowledge the depth of their emotions and move through them. Emotions in grief can be complicated. Anger can be towards others or God. Regret can be towards self for things said or things not said. Sadness for the hole left in their life. Processing these emotions requires the help and support of others. It’s okay to enlist the help of a Christian Counselor for teens to help your child work through their emotions in a healthy way.

Accept your world with loss.

This step is the beginning of moving forward from the loss. As they work through their emotions, they are able to see there are opportunities for them still in their future. When they’ve recognized how their loss has impacted them, they can apply what they’ve learned about themselves to their other relationships. Loss provides teens an opportunity to understand themselves deeper. Some questions asked may include, “How am I impacting those around me?” and, “How can I make more of a positive impact in the future?” By allowing their perspectives to be changed in a healthy way through their grief, they are able to take on their life from a better place.

Have a place for your memories, but move on with life.

In all of these things, it is important to note that the goal is not to leave the person behind or forget they’ve ever existed. Absolutely keep pictures and talk about fond memories. If there are bad memories surrounding the individual, talk through those things, too. The goal is for them to take all of the lessons learned and cherished memories with them as they continue living. Grief is not a checkbox. These parts of grief may come and go throughout their life, but if they have a good support system and are determined to accept grace and create space for themselves, they will be able to channel their grief into their own personal development.

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Kayla Wright joined the counseling team at Life Training Christian Counseling in May of this year. The passion of her counseling work is to make a meaningful difference in the lives of  TEENS AND PRE-TEENS.

Kayla is nationally licensed as a Christian Counselor by the National Christian Counselors Association, with an advanced board certification in Child & Adolescent Therapy. Kayla gained extensive experience and credibility in providing counseling to teens and pre-teens during her tenure on the staff of Revive Christian Counseling in Owensboro and Madisonville, Kentucky.

Kayla Wright, as well as each of our other counselors, offers convenient sessions at our office in Louisville, Kentucky, as well as online counseling via Zoom or FaceTime. Please click on this link to learn much more about how our COUNSELING FOR TEENS & PRE-TEENin Louisville, Kentucky can help the child you love find the highly-effective, Christ-centered help they need. Contact us today at 502-717-5433, or by email at kayla@lifetrainingcounseling.org

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