How Common Is Adolescent Grief?

Many people were horrified to hear about the events at Columbine in Colorado.  However, not as many understood the importance of the intensive counseling that took place after.  A prevalent attitude is the young people are resilient, that they can easily bounce back from significant loss.  It turns out that the opposite is more likely the case.  During this time of big life changes and raging hormones, the effect of death or other loss can be very intensive on a teenager.   How common is adolescent grief?  Although not all teens are touched by death, they react strongly to all sorts of losses, including problems with boyfriends or girlfriends, learning problems at school, and general self-esteem problems associated with their appearance.  It is easy to see the depth of these feelings by looking at the reaction teenagers have.  Some become introverted and lose their confidence.  Others adopt extreme lifestyle choices.  Still others turn to drugs or to crime.   When parents and counselors reach a point where they wonder how common is adolescent grief, they can come to understand that the need to provide grief counseling comes at very specific times.  The concerned party just needs to be paying attention, either to the events in their teenager’s life or to the feelings of their teenager.  A strong strategy is to establish a strong channel for communications, to be able to keep on top of the potentially devastating effects in a young person’s life, and to have the means necessary to help that child.

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