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How to Talk to Your Teen About Loss

a father checks in with his teen son about his mental health after a recent loss

Teens can be uniquely impacted by a loss. The teenage years are often the first time a teen experiences grief. Children don’t always fully comprehend the reality of a loss, but teenagers do. If your teen is struggling to cope with their feelings, grief and loss therapy can help them process a loss.

Imagine Boise is a teen outpatient treatment center. We help teenagers learn the skills to develop a foundation rooted in mental and emotional health. Call us today at 888.597.2807 for more information on teen grief therapy at Imagine Boise.

Benefits of Talking to Teens About Grief

Talking to teens about grief has many benefits. It brings parents and teens closer together and helps teens see their parents as complex individuals with their own emotional lives.

Another key benefit of talking to teens about loss is to help a teen develop healthy coping skills. Parents who don’t shy away from talking to teens about loss set their teens up to succeed at facing grief in a healthy way for the rest of their lives.

How to Talk to Teens About Loss

It’s common for parents to wonder how to talk to teens about loss. Depending on your own background and experience, expressing emotions surrounding loss can feel uncomfortable.

Even if you feel comfortable discussing your own feelings, it can be a challenge to connect to a teen if they’re reluctant to talk.

The following tips can help parents have a meaningful conversation with a teen about a loss in a way that brings them closer together and allows for feelings of grief to be understood and processed.

Choose the Right Time

Feelings surrounding loss can be difficult for anyone to express. Teens, in particular, may be more reluctant to speak about their feelings to a parent, especially if they feel pressured.

Choose the right time to start a conversation about loss, and don’t force the conversation if our teen is resistant.

Start with Yourself

It can help to start by naming your own feelings around a loss. A teen might feel put on the spot if you jump into a conversation with direct questions about their feelings.

Instead, it can help to share how you’ve been feeling and what steps you’ve taken to cope with those feelings. Then ask them to share what’s similar or different for them.

Show Respect

If your teen is dealing with grief, they are working through some intense emotions. A teen’s willingness to communicate with you can be heavily impacted by how much they feel you’re respecting them and what they’re going through.

Let your teen know that loss can have a serious impact on mental and emotional health. Share with them your hope that you can both communicate honestly about your feelings.

Signs a Teen Is Struggling with Loss

Just like adults, sometimes teens need extra support to process grief and move forward. Signs that a teen is struggling more than usual with loss include:

  • Depression
  • Talk of suicide or self-harm
  • Ongoing withdrawal or isolation
  • Using substances to cope with feelings
  • High-risk behaviors
  • Emotional outbursts

In the immediate aftermath of loss, it’s normal to need time to process grief. However, if a teen doesn’t return to normal behavior or begins engaging in concerning behavior, it’s a sign they could benefit from professional grief therapy.

Teen Grief Therapy at Imagine Boise

Imagine Boise is a teen mental health treatment center. We work with teen patients to help them gain a deeper understanding of their mental and emotional health.

Teens at Imagine Boise are supported through individual and peer sessions to learn the skills that can help them move past the mental and emotional health concerns they’re struggling with.

Call us today at 888.597.2807 or fill out our online form for more information on teen grief therapy at Imagine Boise.