The American Psychological Association tallied in 2014 that at least 40 percent of U.S. marriages end in divorce. For a teenager, divorce is tantamount to a death in the family. It shatters a teen’s sense of reality and security.
The death of a loved one or friend can be an overwhelming experience for a teen. Death has no resolution other than acceptance. For a teen, coping with divorce or death means dealing with grief and loss. But not every teen grieves in a constructive manner. Some turn to drugs and alcohol to deal with their emotions. Others may turn inward and bottle up their feelings or simply shut down emotionally. A teen who does not process feelings may, outwardly, seem normal. But a sensory trigger—a sound or smell—or a thought or memory can cause the grief to resurface.
The following are strategies which help teens cope with grief or loss:
- If a family has religious beliefs, discuss these with the teen
- Provide unconditional support and love
- Encourage the teen to spend time with friends
- Participate in grief counseling
- Honor the individual who died—encourage the teen to create a memorial
- Help the teen understand whatever he is feeling is normal
A teen who uses drugs or alcohol to deal with grief or loss only compounds the problem. If you suspect your son may be using substances to cope, or if you have concerns about his state of mind or his behavior, contact your family physician for advice. Chances are they will recommend psychological counseling.
White River Academy—WRA
A therapist may recommend outpatient treatment at a local counseling center. If your son requires more in-depth treatment, WRA is the ideal setting. We provide psychological counseling, individual and group therapy and a challenging academic curriculum. WRA is located at the rim of the Great Basin in Utah—one of the most beautiful places in the country. We offer outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling and river rafting.
Our students perform community outreach as part of their education. These programs instill responsibility and self-confidence. For more information about our school, our programs and our philosophy, please contact 866-520-0905. One of our admissions specialist will answer any question you may have.