Tragic Loss of a Friend: Helping Your Teen Cope

Losing a friend or loved one is always difficult, but it can be much harder for a teenager to deal with the loss of one of their peers because they still at least somewhat believe that they are invincible. After all, this thought process is what leads teens to do so many dangerous things, and it is also associated with the fact that most people in this age group have never experienced the loss of a close friend. Sadly, there is no limitation on when people can die, and this means that the average high school class will lose at least one classmate before graduation day. If this happens at your teen’s school, it will be important to help them cope with their loss. The following are a few tips to help them possibly cope with a loss:

1. Encourage them to Talk – The best way to deal with grief is to freely talk about our feelings. However, many teenagers do not open up to their parents, and this can leave them at a disadvantage when they are dealing with a serious situation. Because of this, you will need to figure out ways to encourage your teen to talk. For example, if the two of you used to spend a lot of time talking while participating in a specific activity, you should try to convince them to join you in that activity again to help get them to open up.

2. Let them Stay Home for a Couple of Days – Many parents send their teens back to school immediately because they think this is the right thing to do. Unfortunately, this could actually cause your teenager to bottle up their feelings. Therefore, unless they are adamant about returning to school the next day, you should allow them to take a day or two off to deal with their emotions. However, it is important to remember that staying home for too long can cause complications, so you will need to get them back into the flow of their normal life after a couple of days.

3. Reassure Them if They have Survivor’s Guilt – If your teen’s friend died during a car accident, they could be dealing with survivor’s guilt if they were also in the vehicle at the time of the crash. As one car accident attorney in Orlando discusses in their blog, ”car accidents are unpredictable”. You need to reassure them that it was not their fault, and you should also make sure that they understand that their friend would have wanted them to be okay. Sadly, this information may not be enough to make your teenager feel better. Fortunately, you can help them receive assistance for their feelings of sadness and guilt by taking them to a professional counselor.

Helping your teen deal with their loss is imperative, and you should also take steps to recover any applicable vehicle damage or medical expenses that your family has incurred as a result of the deadly incident. For example, if your teenager was behind the wheel when a drunk driver collided with their vehicle, you should contact a car accident attorney to help you take the appropriate legal action.

Writer Melanie Fleury knows that even adults can suffer from feelings of guilt after an accident. She hopes that her own children never have to deal with this situation.

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