What Happens When a Teenager Experiences Loss?
- Susan Mead
- 2016 16 Feb
What happens when a teenager experiences loss? So many questions follow! Are you prepared to handle the ensuing emotional tumult? Do you know how to stand in the gap to help them heal? Do you feel like you have answers – or just questions?
If this describes you, or someone you know, then read and please share this article, as answers and hope are available.
Let’s start by looking at what may be considered loss, as loss is not limited to the death of a person. This short list may reveal something you haven’t considered that’s impacting your teens. It’s so important that you come into their lives with tangible answers and truth.
Loss may look like any of the following – and much more.
- A pet
- A position – school club, sports activity or teams
- Family unit – divorce, adoption, parent leaves, parent changes sexual orientation
- A family member – brother, sister, father, mother, grandparent, aunt/uncle etc.
- A friend— due to disease, accident or overdose.
- Self-image, social status or identity
And the list goes on...
No matter what kind of loss, they will ask themselves these questions 1) Who am I? and 2) Whose am I?
Yes, loss is real – regardless of age or social status. For a teen, raging hormones and peer pressure can magnify their experience; upset can cascade into chaos quickly.
And when you don’t know how to handle something, what’s your go-to response? Let me rephrase that – what’s a teenager’s go-to response? For some, it’s frustration that leads to anger; others isolate themselves and a few resort to violence. It breaks your heart when you feel ill equipped to help. So how CAN you help the teens in your life?
These three simple steps can help (re)set a foundation for teens– or anyone dealing with loss.
1. Give them their identity – they feel like they’ve lost it. Tell them who they are and Whose they are.
Here are some words straight out of the Bible.
You are a citizen of Heaven, a child of God, sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, a branch of the True Vine and therefore fruitful, a friend of Jesus, justified and redeemed, not condemned by God, forgiven, and loved for all eternity…regardless of what you have done – or what’s been done to you – when you turn to Christ as your savior and LORD.
2. Remind them that they are loved and (re)introduce them to the One who loves them eternally.
God loves you and has chosen you, you are holy and dearly loved, you are chosen, holy and blameless before God. You are a joint heir with Christ. Jesus loves you, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Simple truth. Share it.
3. Teach them to renew their minds daily – when others fail them, Jesus is the One who will comfort and love them – endlessly and unfailingly.
You’ve been made complete in Christ Jesus. God supplies all your needs, and the peace of God guards your heart and mind.
When you feel unsettled or upset, remember James 4:7. Resist the devil and he will flee.
So renew your mind with the truth of God’s Word, remember that you are loved and you are God’s chosen child.
There is power in the name of Jesus. Should you forget everything else, remember the name Jesus – and say it!
I pray these words help build or solidify the foundation for you, your teens, and others you care deeply about.
Susan B. Mead, author, survivor, and an individual who has dealt with multiple losses, is an empathetic, powerful, sought-after speaker with real answers to life’s questions. Susan is a Senior Ordained Chaplain, Certified by the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, for individuals and groups suffering trauma. Susan’s best-selling book Dance with Jesus: From Grief to Grace, is available on Amazon. Susan tweets @SusanBMead, posts scripture graphics daily on Facebook and Instagram, and hosts the DanceWithJesus blog linkup each Friday at SusanBMead.com. Get connected!
Publication date: February 16, 2016