Unfortunately, many young people will experience bereavement, through the death of a parent or grandparent, sibling, friend or any significant person in their life.  Adolescence is a period of change for young people when their emotions can be confusing and their relationships challenging. Bereavement can make life for a young person extremely confusing.

The Impact of Bereavement on Young People

14-year-old Sam may seem as though he doesn’t care but developmentally, he is also dealing with all sorts of tasks connected with growing up.  Trying to ’separate’ from his parents and be himself is one task he needs to complete.  A bereavement may throw Sam back into dependency on the adults in his life – something that Sam may resent.

Teenagers may struggle with their identity and want to establish their independence. They may find it difficult to talk about their feelings or ask for help. They may seek and find support through social media which may or may not be helpful. Their behaviour may change, and they could become withdrawn or feel angry and get involved in anti-social behaviour.

As with younger children, adults are often anxious or reluctant to talk about death and dying with them. However, young people understand that death is permanent, and even though they may be unable to share their feelings, they will suffer similar feelings of loss and grief to an adult. The best approach is always to include them in the conversation, give them information and the choice to be involved in the preparations for the funeral when someone close has died.

Everything a young person needs to know about funerals

To help a young person decide whether or not to attend a funeral, or prepare for one, you will find the following film, specifically for young people, very helpful to share with him or her. Thank you to the training arm of experienced funeral directors, Rosedales (Norfolk and Suffolk), for allowing us to share this with you. 

If you are supporting a young person you may like to purchase the following resource for young people grappling with bereavement.

Newly published is the new booklet in the Tough Stuff Journal family - Someone has Died. This is aimed at supporting young people wrestling with the loss of someone close. The journal is designed to be used by a young person accompanied by a trusted adult - a parent or relative, youth worker, social worker or school mentor.

The journal is designed deliberately in 'free form', can be written in and asks open questions to encourage the young person to reflect on and record their feelings about the loss. 

Purchase Price £5 + postage

Available to order by emailing [email protected]

The Tough Stuff journals have come into existence as a result of the work of Pete English -an experienced counsellor and trainer - with young people over many years. Many of the ideas are credited to young people who he has worked alongside.  Pete has worked with talented designers and illustrators to come up with the Tough Stuff journal - great resource which children and young people will want to pick up and work through with their teacher, a parent or counsellor.