Supporting bereaved adolescents

  • They have an adult understanding of death.
  • They grieve in a more adult way - they will not ‘puddle jump’ like younger children and may feel overwhelmed by grief.
  • Young people become more aware of the future and grieve for the fact that mum or dad will not be there to see them leave school, get a job, have children.
  • Young people are at the stage in their development of separating from parents as they develop into young adults. This can be a real struggle after a bereavement when they feel very insecure and uncertain inside yet compelled to fit in with their peers who are coming more independent.
  • It can be very difficult to separate the effects of bereavement from the normal processes of adolescence - there are many features in common, such as challenging or risk-taking behaviour.
  • Young people may feel they have to take on the role of the parent who has died for the surviving parent and any other children in the family.

Download our handout for more detailed information on how to support grieving adolescents. 

Useful reading

If you are a parent, carer or professional looking for more information on how to support a grieving adolescent age child, please refer to our suggested reading list.

We will soon be developing an area of our website which will be dedicated to adolescents. Teenagers themselves will be able to refer to this content for guidance on how to cope with bereavement.