This article is the first in a series of articles written to help a parent, youth worker, teacher and anyone that works with teenagers be more equipped to seize teachable moments as a teen navigates the unchartered waters of traumatic death. Articles in this series include: 7 Types of losses, How to Handle A Loss, Common Reactions To Death of a Loved One, Peer Death, Healthy Steps For A Grieving Teens
This article minces no words, it is to the point and highlights benefits of the application.
In a world of emoticons and emoji’s, it seems technology has tapped into something more people need to learn how to express offline and process because let’s face it emotions can make o break a situation and sometimes a person incapable of getting through the chaos.
Death is inevitable and increasingly hitting teens peer to peer more than ever. Between terrorism, teen suicide, and increase self-harm, the cry for help is loud and clear; it is time to equip youth to process toward wellness and gain the skills developmentally within their grasp and ability to effect change in the world.
Critical incident stress management and psychological first aid are more widely implemented in times of crisis and trauma. As a frequent responder and consultant to educational systems in Aftermath Protocol, this article is birth out of necessity.
7 STEPS IN THE GRIEF PROCESS
While these are steps, the word “steps” in no way means there is an order that is cut and dry like a staircase. Grief is as unique as the relationship or stage of life lost. Refrain from imposing person expectations on others, the individual hurting is unique and so is that loss to him or her.
These steps are essential in the grieving process and feature benefit of helping development that will carry into adulthood.
- Teens must accept the loss, experience the pain, and express their sorrow.
- They may require assistance to identify and express the full range of feelings they may experience. Encourage them to talk and engage by listening, and you cannot fix it, just listen. Encourage them to write or draw their feelings and if they are musically inclined to encourage creating a rift, lyrics, tune or song.
- They need to acknowledge feelings and be assured that it’s okay and human to be sad. Communicate that “This is how we feel when someone dies.”
- Teens must be told that it is the death that has made people sad, not the response or lack of response of the teens. Without an explanation, teens may think others’ reactions are caused by something they did or didn’t do.
- In the case of a death, teens need encouragement to remember and reminisce the relationship with the loved one or peer. Even the new or infrequent interaction impacts a teen when death impacts the teen.
- Teens need help in learning to say goodbye to as well as talking about what they lost. In a traumatic situation, the loss may include loss of innocence, loss of opportunity to know the deceased better, off of security, confidence, trust or any other number of non-tangible losses adding to grief and possibly not realized.
- A teen reacts differently to loss depending on age, level of emotional maturity, and previous traumatic events that have impacted them. Never underestimate the unseen wounds.
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I am a huge advocate of helping others get to learn what we do not know. Only then can we know what to get better at achieving results in life. Since the tragedies of “9/11,” what was learned combined with neuropsychological evidence has taught professionals in communities what produced results in wellness. The reason is that dynamically beliefs impact healing physically, emotionally, psychologically, behaviorally, and in spirit.
7 Kind of Losses, How to Handle A Loss, Common Reactions To Death of a Loved One, Peer Death, Healthy Steps For Grieving Teens