During the course of a lifetime teens experience many forms of loss. When a teen has a significant loss in their life they will deal with different levels of grief. People often think of grief as an emotional experience. Grief however can also be a physical, intellectual, social and spiritual experience. It will not only affect how a person feels, it will affect behavior. Here are some common ways people react during grief:

Physical Reactions

  • Deep Sighing
  • Neglect of Self
  • Difficulty Sleeping
  • Weight and Appetite Change
  • Rapid Heartbeat
  • Weakness and Fatigue
  • Resistance to Illness
  • Muscular Tension

Behavioral Reactions

  • Searching for What Was Lost
  • Disoriented to Time and Place
  • Blameful of Others
  • Crying
  • Seeking and providing forgiveness
  • Finishing “Unfinished Business”
  • Seeking Solitude
  • Preoccupied
  • Unable to Concentrate
  • Detaching from Surroundings

Emotional Reactions

  • Numbness
  • Sadness
  • Hopelessness
  • Bitterness
  • Peacefulness
  • Confusion
  • Yearning
  • Helplessness
  • Anger
  • Despair
  • Euphoria

These reactions are normal and helpful in the grieving process. Parents need to monitor their child’s reactions and duration of the reactions. When a child cannot get back on track or starts to give up all together they need assistance. As parents we need to observe, listen and communicate with our child. We cannot take away the pain but we can help our children work through the pain and uncertainty of the loss. Young people need to understand that life goes on and that may be accompanied by pain. Students need to get back on task as soon as possible and work through the issues.