Monday, June 24, 2024
HomeHealingGrief Therapeutic: Teen Grief: Anxious About My Daughter

Grief Therapeutic: Teen Grief: Anxious About My Daughter


Avoidance has by no means been an excellent tactic in fixing any downside. For many conditions in life, not addressing what is going on on solely makes issues worse.  ~ Luvvie Ajayi

A reader writes: My daughter is 16. Her brother was 17 when he was killed three months in the past. As we stay the place there is no such thing as a different household she needed to be the second to establish his physique. She will not speak. It is like he by no means existed. I’ve tried getting her to counseling however she is not . The counselor instructed me to only be right here for her when she wants me and that she is taking her cues from me. However I’m actually frightened that if she bottles this up it’s going to compound afterward. I am not so positive I’m proper. Are you able to shed some mild please?

My response: I am so sorry to be taught of the tragic dying of your son. I definitely can perceive your concern to your daughter at this unhappy and troublesome time, and I’d like to supply some ideas so that you can take into account.

First, it’s vital to acknowledge that you and your daughter are grieving separate losses – you have got misplaced your son, and he or she has misplaced her brother – and every of you’ll grieve your individual private loss in your individual distinctive manner. And simply because your daughter is just not speaking with you about her brother’s dying doesn’t imply that she is just not grieving. (For a extra thorough dialogue of this, see my article, How We Mourn: Understanding Our Variations.)

As I’m positive you recognize, by nature adolescents may be moody and non-communicative. At this stage in your daughter’s improvement (as an adolescent studying to separate from authority figures and discover her personal identification), it could be very regular for her to really feel considerably alienated from adults. That is why most teenagers usually flip to their friends relatively than their mother and father after they really feel a necessity for assist. On the similar time, they do not like to face out and to really feel completely different from their pals – they need to belong. The difficulty is that, until a number of of your daughter’s pals has skilled the dying of a beloved one too, it is unlikely that they’ll absolutely perceive what she is feeling and experiencing as she mourns the dying of her brother. That is why grieving teenagers do greatest after they’re helped to search out friends who’ve additionally skilled a dying. They’re usually very relieved to find they are not the one ones who’ve had somebody near them die.

You say you’ve tried getting your daughter into counseling however “she isn’t .” Nonetheless, it could be useful if she have been inspired to speak to somebody she already is aware of and trusts, and with whom she feels comfy speaking (a trainer, college counselor, neighbor, pal, relative, clergy particular person, and so on.) 

Given what has occurred in your loved ones, you possibly can alert these adults who’re important in your daughter’s life that will help you to maintain a watchful eye in your little one, and you’ll ask them to supply extra assist and understanding to your daughter throughout this troublesome time. 

Expertise tells us that grieving teenagers do greatest after they’re helped to attach with different teenagers who’ve additionally skilled a dying. In your daughter’s behalf, you would possibly name your native hospice and ask if there are any in-person assist teams or packages in your neighborhood aimed toward teenagers who’ve misplaced a sibling. (See, for instance, Grief Camp Helped My Children with Their Emotions.) 
On the Web, you possibly can go to a few of the websites that provide data, consolation and assist to teenagers who’re grieving, and encourage your daughter to go to them, too. For instance, The Compassionate Buddies gives a web-based assist group on Fb aimed toward teenagers who’ve misplaced a sibling: Sounds of the Siblings. Maybe your daughter could be prepared to provide {that a} attempt. 
You say your daughter “gained’t speak – it’s like [her brother] by no means existed.” It might be that, in an effort to guard you from your individual sorrow in regards to the lack of your son, your daughter is reluctant to debate with you her emotions of grief on the dying of her brother. On the similar time, you could suppose that discussing this dying together with your daughter will solely upset her. That occurs in households — nobody needs to speak about it and everyone winds up feeling alone and remoted of their grief. However you possibly can mannequin reminiscing and speaking overtly about your son. Feeling, displaying and verbalizing your individual ache provides your daughter an instance to observe, whereas holding again implies that emotions are to be suppressed. As your counselor instructed, your daughter could also be taking her cues from you. By doing it your self, you possibly can let your daughter know that speaking is an efficient factor. Speaking about your son is what will get each your emotions out within the open so you possibly can acknowledge and cope with them, and it is also what retains your son’s reminiscence alive in your minds and in your hearts. It might be that your daughter is simply aching to speak to you about her brother, and all she wants is to know that you’re needing to speak together with her about him, too.

To get the dialog going together with your daughter, you would possibly need to share together with her a chunk that seems on the Consolation for Grieving Hearts web page of my web site:

The Elephant within the Room
There’s an elephant within the room.
It’s giant and squatting, so it’s onerous to get round it.
But, we squeeze by with, “How are you?” and “I’m fantastic”. . .
And a thousand different types of trivial chatter.
We speak in regards to the climate.
We speak about college or work.
We speak about every little thing else —
besides the elephant within the room.
Everyone knows it’s there.
We’re serious about the elephant as we speak.
It’s continually on our minds,
For you see, it’s a very large elephant.
However we don’t speak in regards to the elephant within the room.
Oh, please, say her identify.
Oh, please, say ‘Barbara’ once more.
Oh, please, let’s speak in regards to the elephant within the room.
For if we speak about her dying,
Maybe we will speak about her life.
Can I say ‘Barbara’ and never have you ever look away?
For if I can not, then you’re leaving me
Alone . . . in a room . . .
With an elephant.

          ~ Terry Kettering, in Bereavement Journal,
                Reprinted in Ann Landers’ Column, Arizona Republic, 2/12/2000                       

Maybe the very best factor you are able to do to your daughter proper now’s to take excellent care of your self, my pricey (persevering with to work together with your counselor, ensuring you get sufficient relaxation, hydration, vitamin and train, and so on.) As your counselor mentioned, greater than the rest your daughter wants you to only be there for her when she wants you. And do not forget that you recognize your daughter higher than anybody else does. Observe your coronary heart, belief your instincts and use your individual common sense. And know that I’m pondering of you each.

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