Topic: Anybody has a teenager who lost the parent?

Hello to all
Just wondering of anyone has a teenager who lost mother or father and having tough time dealing with the loss. My older son is 15 and on Oct 18, 2012 we lost my husband/his father to cc. He doesn't show a lot of emotions and really not talking about the loss at all. But it seems that his priorities have changed and school is no longer seems important. He was always a good student (A/B) and now I'm having hard time getting through to him. All he wants to do is play video games, watch youtube and socialize with friends or his girlfriend. I understand that it is his way of dealing with the loss - entertain himself as much as possible, so he won't think of the loss, but I don't think it's a healthy way to grieve. I'm new to it as well and slowly learning. I suggested to take him to therapy session, which he declined.
Anybody had similar issues? Any suggestions? I appreciate it!
Sincerely, Alla

Re: Anybody has a teenager who lost the parent?

Alla, is there a male member of the family that your son relates too? He may be able to talk to him, go out to lunch or etc just the 2 of them. Also I think the High Schools still have counselors? If so you could ask the counselor for some advise. On the other hand what you described is my 16 year old Grandson as well. Friends, girlfriend and computers. Teddy was the only male role model for the 3 Grandsons here and even though they don't talk much about him if other people do their eyes still well up. Teddy's favorite animal was the Penguin and the 2 older boys went and had Penguins tattoed on them. Perhaps you could find some way for him to express his love for his Dad. Wish I could help more.


Re: Anybody has a teenager who lost the parent?

Hi Alla,

I am not in your shoes, but I have a son that is 21. My daughter, Lauren has cancer. She is 26. My son had the same reactions as your son did. Although he did not lose his sister, it was a kind of grief he went through about her cancer. He seemed not to want to spend time with us and was gone a lot of the time. We gave him time to deal with things and then started talking to him slowly about Lauren and her cancer. Lauren was very hurt by his avoidance, but I think it was his way of dealing with things. He was there the day the doctor called and told us she had Cholangiocarcinoma. He was just as devastated as we were. I remember looking at him and he was crying his eyes out. It is hard for kids to come to terms with grown up stuff. Ryan has come around and is involved with us much more. I think he has come to terms with things. I know your son has something even more difficult to deal with and that is the loss of a parent. It has not been very long since your husband's passing. I would suggest you speak with a social worker or therapist for yourself and about your son. I am not a doctor, only a Mom that cares about my kids the same way you do about yours. I am hoping for the best for you and your family.

Love and hugs, -Pam

My beautiful daughter, Lauren Patrice, will live on in my heart forever.

My comments, suggestions, and opinions are based on my experience as a caretaker for my daughter, Lauren and from reading anything I can get my hands on about Cholangiocarcinoma. Please consult a physician for professional guidance.

Re: Anybody has a teenager who lost the parent?

Thank you, ladies. Unfortunately, we don't have any family here. The only person I can think of, that my son can talk to - is my step-son. But that can be only by the phone. I'll have my own therapy session in couple of weeks and will discuss both of my kids grieving situations - both have completely opposite reaction, but the ages are far apart too. I tried to give both kids special booklets from hospice about grieveing - age appropriate, my 6 year old read his, but not 15 y.o.
Pam - at the time of my husband's cancer diagnosis, we did get closer with my older son and cried together, but later he also had some withdrawals. Once I told him in October that his dad's time on Earth is almost over - we cried together again, but since his passing, my son has been trying to be with friends as much as he can and not talking to me about it at all.
At high school they do have guidance counselor that I've been in contact with throughout the sickness, but again he doesn't want to talk about it with her as well.
Thanks for listening! Alla

Re: Anybody has a teenager who lost the parent?

Alla, I can look a long way back and I was that teenager losing my dad. I could not talk to my mom about it either, maybe because I was afraid of causing her more pain. My friends were a distraction but it was my first big loss and it took time before I felt normal again. My children lost their father 14 months ago. My son is now 30 and my daughters are now 28 and 26. Both of my girls talk to me about my husband/their dad regularly but my son does not. Guys really do seem to grief different than girls. I belong to a grief group. I am the only widow and all the other ladies are mothers who have lost children ranging from 18 - 25.  No men come, although they have been invited since day one.
There is a natural depression after a death and your son is probably finding it hard to be motivated about school. I know when I lost my dad I went through a lot of soul searching about "What is life really about?" 
I work at a high school and have worked with students who have suffered great losses. It is important for your son to have at least 2 people at the school checking in on him, to show they care and so he knows that there is someone there for him if he wants. This is as simply as asking how his day is going and does he need any help with his school work. You can also talk to one of his friends dad that you know well about getting them out to go fishing or something - just with the guys.
It is not an easy road you are on but it sounds like you are doing the best that can be expected. Hugs. Nancy

Loving my husband from afar.

6 (edited by Missing U Wed, 28 Nov 2012 10:29:38)

Re: Anybody has a teenager who lost the parent?

Hi Alla,

I am so sorry for the loss of your husband and I can understand how that turns a family upside down, experiencing the loss of my own Dear Dad almost six years ago. 

I'm glad you have your own appointment to see a therapist and perhaps from that you'll gain valuable insight into helping your son. Teenagers are so connected to the internet now, do you think he might be open to some web resources, if he's not comfortable with a face-to-face session?  These links may be worth exploring- … godShAALA; … rent.aspx. 

The second link is from a Christian perspective. I wondered if there is any clergy member you could confide in- at the time of my Dad's death I was very angry at God, but as time went on I started to see how every moment of life is a miracle, even  those moments filled with the sadness of this illness. I can honestly say that my Dad's illness and subsequent death helped rebuild my faith, so this is another option.

Lastly, could your son get involved with something that would help someone else- something like Big Brothers or a Homeless Shelter, even a Habitat for Humanity type of thing. This would be a way for him to channel his pain and help another- it transforms ourselves and others when we can transform our sadness.

Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers,
God Bless,
Missing U

7 (edited by Cherbourg Wed, 28 Nov 2012 14:22:39)

Re: Anybody has a teenager who lost the parent?

This would be a great question for our Dr. Giles....(under patient support at the top of the page).  Here is a link for a question concerning a teenager.

I think grieving is the hardest job we ever do.  No two people will grieve in the same way or time frame....


My Mom lost her one year battle with CC on April 3, 2009.

"A prognosis is simply an audit of how truly precious each day is.  Live each day to the maximum, celebrate what was, and what is - Don't spend your life looking forward to what will or might be." .... words of wisdom from my beloved son on hearing of his grandmother's CC prognosis.

Re: Anybody has a teenager who lost the parent?

Thank you so much for advices and links. 'Missing U' - this link … rent.aspx.  didn't work for me, unfortunately. Please let me know, which section is it located under - in
I appreciate it!

Re: Anybody has a teenager who lost the parent?

Here's the link: … arent.aspx

(I removed a dot at the end of the link and that did the trick)

Re: Anybody has a teenager who lost the parent?

Thank you, Eli. I didn't even notice it!

Re: Anybody has a teenager who lost the parent?

Alla, you are welcome.

I'm not sure if you saw the Ball in a Jar story. I think it's very powerful. Trying showing it to your son: … hp?id=7667