Herbal Home remedy Adolescent Grief and Parents Role in Managing It

Adolescence is an impressionable age. A childs brain has not fully developed to understand the future implications of certain life events like death and is liable to build theories in the mind that are far removed from reality. Death of a loved one often sends waves of emotional upheavals in the young mind that fails to properly understand the direct and indirect consequences of the event.

Adolescence is also characterized by new social and emotional experiences that aid in learning and reasoning abilities. A childs concept of death changes with age. While a child may not fully understand the finality of death, adolescents may be able to accept the irreversibility of the event. However, they may still fail to realize or accept the implications of the event in its entirety, adolescent grief is a really difficult time for any parent & needs handling very carefully.

Adolescents need help for emotional healing, probably to a larger extent than adults. Another aspect of adolescent grief is presented by their tendency to conceal or under play the emotion that they may be feeling. Teenagers have a typical notion that they are always being watched by parents, which makes them conscious about their behaviors. At an age where they are prone to rely on friends rather than family, it is important for parents to know just the time to step in with help.

The young mind fails to recognize that speaking out and expressing what one is feeling deep inside can actually help to a large extent. It is here that parents or care givers have to play the part of a grief counselor. While handling adolescent grief, it is important that parents keep in mind that many times teens try to play the role of a responsible adult and try to protect their parents. If they see elders being overly overwhelmed with adolescent grief, they are likely to feel that they are adding to the troubles of their parents by expressing their own feelings. In such instances, a teenager may take a conscious decision of keeping quiet even in the face of emotional distress that is building within.

Regardless of age, the grieving process is important to be able to resume normal duties. Adolescent grief depends on individual personalities and there is nothing that is right or wrong about the emotions that one goes through. The process and physical manifestations of the same may differ based on cultural variations and mourning rituals. Shielding adolescents from these rituals is not recommended since exposure to such rituals actually helps them in understanding that grief is normal and that what they are feeling is part of normal life experiences.

Preoccupation with own feelings has serious implications and can negatively affect the childs mental development. What parents can do is to help the child in giving expression to feelings that are whelming within. Patient listening without judgmental comments, encouraging a journal, a healthy nutritional diet, exercise and sufficient rest can go along a way in providing relief from grief.

Adolescent Grief Group Activities

Life is a continuous struggle and the earlier it is realized that one has to meet its challenges, the better it is for everyone. Coming to terms with the changes that death of a special person may bring about, is one such struggle that can become difficult to handle by many individuals. Such acceptance and management becomes even more difficult for adolescents, who are already undergoing a state of emotional turmoil.

Unable to understand the import of life events in their correct perspective, there is a great possibility of the young mind interpreting a situation with trumped up logic. Some general signs that death or a personal loss may bring about in adolescents include:

* A long period of sadness and sorrow during which interest in daily activities is lost.

* Refusal to attend school or a drop in grades.

* Repetitive statements of wanting to join the dead.

* Withdrawal from friends, hyper-activity or keeping too busy.

Considering that todays teens are extremely stressed out and that some teens may view the entire situation to be extremely negatively, it is possible that adolescents can slowly fall into a state of clinical depression due to grief. Extreme adolescent grief can have serious consequences and in many instances teens are known to resort to substance abuse, casual and indiscriminate sexual behavior, anti-social and criminal activities or suicide. Many private and community associations have come forward by offering grief counseling in schools. They also offer these services to communities that are socially more vulnerable.

Grief counselors often use the strategy of patient listening and subtle suggestions on individual basis. Group activities have also been found to be effective. Teens are given an opportunity to openly express their feelings amongst people in similar situations with whom they can identify with. Group activities like art therapy and writing are frequently used to reach out to the teenager to help give expression to emotions. This also gives an insight into the inner turmoil that helps in a proper assessment of the emotional distress that the teenager may be passing through.

The basic goals of group activities are:

* To provide a therapeutic environmental condition that enables adolescents to go through the necessary stages of mourning in a healthy manner. This minimizes the negative impact and promotes emotional wellness.

* Help youngsters to perceive grief as a normal human reaction to death. Adolescents are very concerned with being seen as normal. The group format induces a sense of positive identity in the grieving adolescent as groups give mutual aid and a means for re-entering the mainstream.

* Create an atmosphere of compassion and support

* Remove any sense of guilt that may be compelling the child to blame himself or herself for the loss.

* Regain control over their lives and get on with their normal routine activities.

Sessions that help teens to view the loss in the larger context of life as a continuous struggle provide a tool for teens to move forward in life instead of stagnation that grief is liable to result in.