|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Help with Grieving

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: My mother passed away recently and I'm concerned about the effects on my 13-year-old son. He was especially close to his grandma, but hasn't expressed any emotion over the event. I know grief is a personal thing and each person grieves differently. I called the school counselor and asked her to talk to him. He went to speak with her and said it was dumb. I worry that it's unhealthy for him to keep his emotions in. How can I help him grieve?

A: Your son is suffering terribly right now. You need to provide him with as many opportunities to express his grief as possible. I'm not surprised that he said talking to the school counselor was "dumb." He's a 13-year-old boy trying to "be a man" about the death of a grandma he loved dearly so he'll "choose" anger or indifference rather than show how much pain he's in.

I hope that your son was involved in the rituals surrounding his grandma's death -- religious services, attending the burial, etc. I would engage him from time to time with talk of his grandma, letting him know that you intend to keep her memory alive in the family. Don't be afraid to let him see you sad or grieving. Tell him how much she loved him and start a conversation about about some of the good times that they had together. Make sure you assure him that she knew how much he loved her.

I would also ask him to accompany you to her grave a few times, even though he may refuse your invitation. Naming his pain -- "You must be missing Grandma so much. You loved her so" -- lets him know that you are aware of what he's feeling.

More on: Expert Advice

Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit BICFightForYourWrite.com to sign our petition to save handwriting!

7 Fun Driveway and Sidewalk Games for Kids
Looking for classic outdoor games kids can play in the driveway or on the sidewalk, just like the good ol' days? From hopscotch to bubble-blowing contests, there's something for all ages!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Best Sun Safety Practices for Babies
Follow these sun safety practices for babies to ensure your little one stays safe on the beach and on sunny days all year long.