At the annual ADEC (Association of Death Education and Counseling) conference, I spoke with Dr. Ken Doka about adolescents and grief.
Adolescents have different issues when it comes to grief. Ken discusses these in detail in the video below.
Here are some key takeaways from the video:
- Adolescents are in transition, and because they’re in transition, sometimes their grief isn’t recognized or acknowledged by others around them.
- Adolescents will often keep their grief hidden because they don’t like to appear different or needy; they would rather project independence and strength.
- Adolescents often grieve while they’re isolated and alone. A younger child may seek the comfort of their parents when grieving a loss, while an adolescent would be more likely to go in their room and shut the door.
- For adolescents, the experience at school is more fragmented as they’re not likely to have the same teacher all day who can notice changes in behavior.
- When asked to give recommendations to parents, Ken suggests to first be sensitive to your child’s loss and give them the freedom to talk about it when they want. Significant changes in behavior and grades at school are signs that your child may be struggling with grief.
- Contemporary adolescents are digital natives, so Ken suggests to keep an ongoing conversation about what your kids are doing on the Internet, what they’re learning, and if they’re finding any grief support online.
For more video interviews, please see the Open To Hope YouTube channel.