The trauma of losing a loved one can have a lasting impact on your teenage son, with consequences that can lead to destructive behavior. In many cases, this turning of grief into self-destruction is due to societal pressures on teenage boys, who are often taught that they can’t show emotions like sadness and depression.
To help prevent your son from reaching this stage of grief, Sundance Canyon Academy is here with some advice to help you and your son through this difficult time.
Teen Boys May Struggle To Process Their Grief
While more parents are starting to raise their sons to embrace their emotions, there is still a strong societal pressure on young men to hide any emotions beyond excitement—usually reserved for sports—boredom and anger. Emotions like sadness or grief are often stigmatized as “being a wuss” and the boy expressing them “needs to buck up” rather than openly express.
Stifling these emotions doesn’t make them go away. Instead, being forced to hide their feelings can often cause teenage boys to act out in aggression and anger, as they don’t feel like there is any other avenue for emotional expression. That’s why it is critical that you help your son find healthy avenues to deal with the loss of a loved one.
Ways To Help Your Son After A Loved One Has Passed
There are a number of ways you can actively help your son cope with the passing of a loved one, such as:
Give him space to talk – Allowing your son to have the time and space to talk is essential. It may be just talking about the deceased, or him expressing how he feels about their passing. Having you available to hear your son can make a huge impact, as your son can at least feel heard and potentially understood, rather than being alone with his grief.
Offer comfort – It can be tough to balance offering comfort without invalidating how your son feels. Saying things like, “it will get better with time” is true, but can make your son feel like you are telling him that his sadness has a deadline.
Hold to routines as possible – Some disruption to routine is expected after the passing of a loved one. However, over the following weeks, sticking to the normal routine as much as possible can help your son find a sense of normalcy and center his emotions more easily.
Help him memorialize – Many people worry that moving forward with their lives means forgetting those who have passed. To help your son feel like he is moving forward, but not forgetting, help him find ways to memorialize their lost loved one. Maybe a keychain with their handwriting engraved, or writing a goodbye letter, as well as helping with the funeral can help your son.
Consider therapy – Depending on the relationship your son had with the deceased, bringing in a professional therapist that specializes in grief counseling can help. Some boys feel uncomfortable sharing their private feelings with family and friends, and a therapist can be a safe outlet, as well as a provider of tools to help cope.
Sometimes, even these things aren’t enough to help teenage boys who are struggling with the loss of a loved one, and their behavior becomes destructive. In these cases, it is time to consider a therapeutic boarding school program to help your son work through his emotions safely and appropriately.
When Grief Turns Destructive, We Can Help
A grieving boy doesn’t need boot camps or military schools to stuff down his legitimate feeling of loss and sorrow. Instead, a therapeutic program like Sundance Canyon Academy is needed.
At Sundance, we have trained therapists and other caring staff that can work with your son as he goes through the grieving process. He will attend classes so that he won’t fall behind, as well as be immersed in multiple types of therapy to help him process his feelings and learn healthy coping mechanisms.
If you would like to learn more about our treatment program, please contact us by phone or fill out our contact form. We are happy to answer your questions about our program and if your teenage son can benefit from attending.