If your teenager is grieving with anger and guilt over the death of a loved one, keep reading. Our parenting experts authors Drs. Heidi and Gloria Horsley will discuss 2 of the big three emotions teenagers experience using words from the teens themselves.
Big Three Emotions
There are basically three emotions that may keep your grieving teenager in a state of suffering. The big three are: Anger, Guilt, and Shame.
Anger at losing a loved one is huge for a teenager. By dying, this person has really screwed up their life. Anger can stem from many places. Teens might be angry at the person for abandoning them, angry at God for allowing this to happen, angry at the world for not understanding how difficult it is for the teen. In addition, parents often become overly protective following a death.
Teenagers tell us that it is as if their parents have a magnifying glass on them at all times. Teens feel like their parents want them to account for every second in the day. Teens claim that parents are reluctant to turn the car keys over to the teenager, and they want almost constant check ins from the cell phone.
One teenager told us, "It's like I'm under house arrest. Why should I suffer" I didn't wreck the car. I have a valid driver's license. I took Drivers Ed."
Teenagers feel cheated and angry when they are treated differently than they were before the death. Their developmental task of becomeing more independent has been interrupted.
Although your teenager may not really be able to translate feelings into words, the second cause for teenage suffering is guilt. Many teens have guilt and regret that they didn't spend more time with the deceased, or remorse that they didn't treat them better.
Here is one example of teen guilt from our Internet radio show, "Healing The Grieving Heart."
Darrel Scott, whose daughter Rachel was murdered in the Columbine High School massacre, discussed on our show the fact that Rachel's brother Craig was very withdrawn for about six months following Rachel's death.
Darrell said that he was sure there was something Craig, his son told him that he had had a fight with Rachel the morning of her death and they had left for school on bad terms. Craig felt that it should have been him. Darrell said that after the talk Craig started to show some marked improvement.
Craig's dad helped Craig to see that their argument was one of a normal response between siblings and that it did not change their love for one another. "It should have been me" or "I should have treated my sibling better" or "I should have prevented the death" are common responses that cause teenagers to suffer. Pages XIX-XX
To find about about the shame the surviving teenager feels, pick up Teen Grief Relief: Parenting with Understanding, Support and Guidance
It's available on Amazon.com
Let's give Heidi and Gloria Horsley and BIG THANK YOU for sharing their knowledge and experience about grieving teenagers.
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Jean Tracy, MSS
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