Accompanying Teens Whose Lives Are Touched By Loss

 For many years, I have had a vision that there would be support available wherever there were teens whose lives were touched by loss and tragedy.  Now, as I attend national conferences, talk with others serving this unique population, and look through books and videos, I am hopeful. 

Grassroot efforts to guide grieving children and teens are emerging from many concerned people.  Parents, teachers, nurses, counselors, coaches, and spiritual guides, are seeking appropriate and practical ways of accompanying grieving children and teens as they journey through the isolation, the turmoil, the ever-changing life experiences after a loved one dies.  There is an increasing sense of collaboration as educators, practitioners and researchers share from their respective disciplines.  There is a recognition that these young people can actually grow through the experience of grief with the support of caring adults.

 Helping Teens Work Through Grief provides a practical resource for those caring adults as they take the steps toward establishing a group for grieving teens.  In addition to the practical nuts and bolts information, there are multi-dimensional activities, reflecting the many issues that touch their lives.  This updated edition addresses topics of trauma, continuing bonds, and the ongoing search for meaning as teens move through their grieving.  Recent research on these relevant topics is woven into the background information sections, as well as within the newly developed activities for the teens.

Trauma is distinguished from normal grief, enabling facilitators to better decide when a grief group might be appropriate for someone who has experienced trauma.

 Recognizing that grieving children and teens do connect with the person who has died, the topic of “Continuing Bonds” is explored.  Activities are provided to enhance the relationship between the teen and the deceased in order to help the teens successfully move on to a fuller life.

So often grieving teens wrestle with spiritual questions of meaning and purpose.  Facilitators can find practical ways of approaching these teens in “Moving On and Beyond: The Search for Meaning.” 

Unlike the geometric theorem, “The whole is equal to the sum of its parts,” my experience with this dream of mine is that indeed,  “The sum of the parts is greater than the whole" – the whole picture of many people accompanying our youth through this life crisis and enabling them to live fuller lives because of their experience.   We adults can provide the much-needed support for grieving teens to embrace the challenge of growing through grief.



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