What is it like for teenagers when someone close to them dies? How do they respond to the death of a parent, a sibling, a relative, a friend?

In our work with teenagers, we’ve learned that teens respond better to adults who choose to be companions on the grief journey rather than direct it. We have also discovered that adult companions need to be aware of their own grief issues and journeys because their experiences and beliefs impact the way they relate to teens.

Here are six basic principles of teen grief:

1. Grieving is the teen’s natural reaction to a death.

2. Each teen’s grieving experience is unique.

3. There are no “right” and “wrong” ways to grieve.

4. Every death is unique and is experienced differently.

5. The grieving process is influenced by many issues.

6. Grief is ongoing.