Not Your Average Teen Drama

Not Your Average Teen Drama

Grief is an odd friend in our house. Between culture shock kinds of grief and mourning three of our four parents, all but one grandparent and too many friends, we’ve had our fair share. Even since we’ve been self-quarantined, I’ve lost three friends. (None of them to COVID-19.)

There is an odd pause in the collective breath when someone dies and you can’t be together to laugh and cry and remember.

We were made for connection. The Bible says it. Brené Brown says it. I’d say at this point in our world history, we can all make a footnote that says 99.9% of us agree: isolation is not a natural state of humanity. Weddings, funerals, birthdays and graduations are a thing. They are a thing because we were made to celebrate and to grieve together.

From toddlers to teens, our kids are grieving too. They are unruly and restless and not interested in school work. They might act angry sometimes, but anger and angst go hand in hand with grief. And instead of getting together to shake their fists at the sky and dance to angry music, they are forced to stay home in our worldwide time-out while they grieve the loss of what they had hoped. For prom. For graduation. For their summer jobs and trips with friends.

I think we will all look back in twenty years and, having traveled and caffeinated and danced, we will mostly agree that many of the things we are grieving now were frivolous. But at the moment, whether they are voicing it or not, our kids are just sad. And that’s ok. It’s ok to feel sad and to move through the emotion. We will all come out the other side.

As parents and teen workers, one of the most vital things we can do is help them name what they are feeling and create an atmosphere of emotional connection. Whether that’s helping them prank a friend’s yard (save the tp for a more momentous occasion and get creative) or offering a shoulder to cry on, even when all we get is attitude. Start looking for markers to help them commemorate this life event, even when the life events they expected have been marked off the calendar. (Read more about markers here.)

When my toddler starts into a fit these days, something he rarely did until about a week ago, I’ve started pulling him in close and asking what’s making him sad today. Then we pick a friend to FaceTime and bake something. We’ve been baking a lot.

Don’t be afraid to pull your teens in close and ignore the newfound homeschooling power struggle for a moment. No one will remember that late assignment twenty years down the road, but they will remember how you made them feel when the world came crashing down.

We are all grieving the loss of normalcy. We all need a virtual funeral to grieve our expectations and regroup. So schedule your days, pick one fun thing a day to do together, bake a little more than usual, but most of all, give yourself, and your teens, a lot of grace. The struggle is real.

*We’re excited to have Beverly Ross join us in our Impact group next month to speak more on grief. Usually exclusively open to monthly donors and church partners, you can now join Teen Life’s private Facebook group for FREE until further notice due to the Coronavirus. Check out the Teen Life Impact Group for support, discussion, videos, and exclusive content. Join the conversation with Teen Life and our Resident Experts, like Beverly, where we will cover new topics each month that are relevant to living and working with teenagers. In the meantime, you can find more on grief in these posts.

Kelly Fann

Kelly Fann

Marketing Assistant

Kelly has lived in three countries and worked with teens across the world, encouraging them to pursue their passions and to be kind.

Don’t Panic about Grief with Beverly Ross

Don’t Panic about Grief with Beverly Ross

Listen & Subscribe:  iTunes | Android | RSS


 

Grief comes in many different forms, but it is something everyone deals with at some point in life. This episode, Chris and Karlie are joined by Beverly Ross to talk about the the basics of grief, what to expect from a grieving teenager and how we can better support teens who are grieving. Don’t panic about grief, there is a way to bring hope and encouragement to difficult circumstances!

In this episode, you’ll find out…
  • Some of the unique ways teenagers deal with grief.
  • Advice about what can be said or done to better walk alongside a teen experiencing grief.
  • Signs that a teen might need to seek help from a professional.
  • Examples of grief-producers, especially for teenagers.
  • How to use the acronym PERS (Physical, Emotional, Relational, Spiritual) to positively cope with grief.
  • Ways we as a community can surround and encourage those who are grieving.
Ask yourself…
  • Am I putting too much pressure on myself to do or say the perfect thing?
  • Could this teenager be talking to someone else if they aren’t talking to me?
  • Am I aware of important dates that I need to remember and recognize?
Go ask a teen…
  • What do you need?
  • What is it like for you right now? Tell me your story.
  • What would you like to do for holidays? How would you like to hold space?
Resources:

In this episode, we mentioned the following resources:

About Us:

Beverly Ross, M.A., LPC-S, is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor and the Executive Director of Wise County Christian Counseling. She is experienced in dealing with marriage and family matters, as well as individual issues such as depression, anxiety and grief support.  Beverly is a sought-after speaker and an international advocate for women’s ministries.  Follow her on Twitter!

Chris Robey is the Program Director for Teen Lifeline, Inc. Earlier in his career while working as a youth minister, Chris earned a Masters Degree in Family Life Education from Lubbock Christian University to better equip his work with teenagers and families. Chris’ career and educational opportunities have exposed him to teenagers from a variety of backgrounds. Follow him on Twitter!
Karlie Duke started working as Teen Lifeline’s Communications Director after graduating from Abilene Christian University with a degree in Communications with a minor in Family Studies. Karlie has worked with teenagers for the past 5 years and is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram!
Have a question?
If you have a question about something you heard or just want to give us some feedback, please leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear from you!