Dealing with the Loss of a Teenager

Losing a teenaged child to death is a unique trauma. Because the death of a child is an event outside the natural developmental continuum of life, nothing can adequately prepare a parent for this loss.

In her compelling book, The worst loss: How families heal from the death of a child, Barbara Rosof describes what parents lose when a child dies. These losses include:

  • the loss of a piece of yourself,
  • the loss of the illusion that we can protect our children,
  • the loss of order in our universe,
  • and the loss of the future.

Adolescence is an exciting, yet challenging time in a family’s life. You and your teen may have been experiencing new roles and communication patterns at the time of your teen’s death. Your feelings about these transitions may affect your grief.

How Your Teen's Death Can Affect Your Marriage

The loss of a child may be traumatic for a marriage. Parents may have difficulty supporting each other because the death of their child affects each of them deeply.

Often, husbands and wives try to be strong for each other, and ignore their needs for emotional intimacy in order to stay strong. Parents may feel shared failure and helplessness. They may also blame outsiders in different ways, or blame each other for the death.

Parents may have different styles of communication and express feelings differently. These differences may cause anger and hurt, or may draw the couple closer to each other.

Each parent needs time and unique nurturing that supports their individual needs and personality.

Parents need support from each other, but also need care from people outside the marriage, as well.

Special Resources For Parents Who Have Lost a Teen

Support Groups

We offer a variety of support groups to parents who have lost a child. Support group sessions usually last eight weeks.

Please call 801-585-9522 for information on dates and locations.

Compassionate Friends

The Compassionate Friends organization provide support to parents who have lost a child by any cause to death.

In Salt Lake City, call 801-561-9862.

Toll-free: 877-969-0010