"My friends mostly don't know
what's going on with me"
~ Janelle, age 13
"Why did this happen to me? To my family?"
~ Almost every grieving teen ever
When someone dies, our whole world can radically change. Some teens describe it as a hurricane or a tornado, taking out everything in its path. You're left to pick up the pieces and figure out what life will be like without that person. Who will you be? How will your family react? What will you remember? What will you miss? There are no expectations for how you should think or feel - grief can be intense and loud or quiet and barely there. Some teens aren't sure what they feel. It's all okay.
How people grieve might look different depending on their age, where they grew up, cultural expectations (maybe your parents and Tías expect you to act a certain way, but it’s not how you feel), religion/spirituality, gender norms (family members expecting you to cry or not cry depending on your gender), and what your family expects or needs from you in terms of helping with chores and caring for other people. You might see families in movies or on TV shows grieving very differently than yours, and start to wonder “Are we doing it wrong?” Remembering that various cultures, generations, families, and even neighborhoods have different ideas about the “right” way to grieve, might help with feeling okay with your own grief experience
So what can you do to live with grief? 8 things you can do right now
On this page, you'll find activities, podcast episodes, and videos to check out. They can be intense, so it's a good idea to keep anything that helps you feel comfortable close at hand. If you feel overwhelmed, please reach out to a trusted adult, the Crisis Text Line (text CONNECT to 741741), or connect with a trained peer at YouthLine. You can call 877.968.8491, text teen2teen to 839863, or chat at (Available 4 - 10 pm PST). For crisis resources specifically by and for BIPOC teens, contact Black Line - 1.800.604.5841. For additional culturally specific resources, please click here.
Recording Resilience - Short films by grieving teens
A devoted daughter, 17-year-old Kamarie, explores how she wished she could fix her father’s cancer and how in the end, he was the one to fix her.
Madeleine’s brother Finn drowned when he was in middle school. Finn was a warm-hearted, eager boy with a wide smile who could cheer up his sister, no matter what.
Activities from Deconstruction/Reconstruction - The Dougy Center's Teen Journal
Podcast episodes - for when listening feels easier than doing or reading
Liam was just starting middle school when his brother died of an overdose.
Ep. 50: Grieving the Death of a Best Friend as a Teen
The summer before they were supposed to start high school, Debbie's best friend died.
Ep. 88: What's Changed for Grieving Children? The 1960's
Tony was 14 when his father died suddenly, changing his entire world
Halfway through her junior year, Lily's father died of a heart attack.
Ep. 158: Growing (Up) With Grief - One Teen's Story
Aliya was 15 when her mom died. Her mom was a single parent, so when she died, Aliya had to move to a new state, to live with a new family.