Coping with loss

Grief support & educational resources for parents and teens

Offering support to your teen

  • Be there for your teen.
  • Encourage your teen to seek support from others (such as a counselor or pastor, etc.) However, be careful not to push too hard.
  • Model healthy grieving (coping).
  • Listen (and really listen to them)
  • Validating their feelings
  • Answering their questions honestly

Common reactions in teens

Every teen responds to death in his or her own way. These are some of the most common reactions for teenagers:

• Anger

• Denial

• Withdrawal

• Regression (acting younger than his or her age)

• Aggression

• Drop in grades

• Risk taking

• Changes in sleep patterns

• Feeling different than peers

• Increase in conflict with friends and family

• Assuming more responsibilities and adult roles

• Critical toward decisions made by friends and family of the person who has died

Some of these reactions may lead you to believe that your teenager is suffering from depression. Depression occurs when many symptoms, such as those listed above, last for several weeks and cause a big change in routine. If you believe that your teen is suffering from depression, talk to your physician for referrals for him or her to speak with a psychologist or counselor.

Mourning Hope Grief Center

Mourning Hope companions grieving children, teens, young adults and their families when someone significant in their lives has a serious illness or has died. Mourning Hope provides support groups, community education, grief resources and referrals. They are located in Lincoln, but also have many resources on their website, including these grief resources

  • Grief support programs and support groups
  • 10 Things Grieving Children Want You to Know
  • 10 Ways to Help Grieving Children
  • I'm a on dealing with grief
  • Helping my Children... tips for parents

Grief Resources:

Mourning Hope website:

Stages of Loss and Grief

The stages of mourning and grief are universal and are experienced by people from all walks of life. There are five stages of normal grief that were first proposed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book “On Death and Dying.” In our bereavement, we spend different lengths of time working through each step and express each stage with different levels of intensity. The stages do not necessarily occur in any specific order. We often move between stages before achieving a more peaceful acceptance of death. Many people do not experience the stages in the order listed below, which is okay. The key to understanding the stages is not to feel like you must go through every one of them, in precise order. Instead, it’s more helpful to look at them as guides in the grieving process — it helps you understand and put into context where you are. Keep in mind — all people grieve differently. Some people will wear their emotions on their sleeve and be outwardly emotional. Others will experience their grief more internally, and may not cry. You should try and not judge how a person experiences their grief, as each person will experience it differently.


A temporary (and very normal) response that shields our minds from the intense emotion associated with the reality of the situation.


As the shock wears off the pain re-emerges that we are not ready for. We experience

waves of anger (directed at many people and objects).


The normal reaction to feelings of helplessness and vulnerability is often a need to regain control– we begin to say "what if..."


It would be unnatural to go through such a loss and not feel empty or depressed with the reality. This may feel like the longest part of the grieving process, but it is necessary for the acceptance stage to begin.


This stage is about accepting the reality of our loss and learning to live without our loved one. Some may assume this means a person is now "ok" or "all right," but this may never be the case. It is about learning to live in a new norm. Acceptance only occurs after a person has had time to fully grieve.

Choking Game

The choking game is a dangerous activity that older children and early adolescents sometimes play to get a brief high. They either choke each other or use a noose to choke themselves. After just a short time, children can pass out, which may lead to serious injury or even death from hanging or strangulation.

SCIP newsletter related to the Choking Game:

CDC's website with information:

GASP (Games Adolescents Shouldn't Play)

Set up by families of Choking Game victims, GASP is a global nonprofit campaign that fights this “game” with the most powerful weapon at our disposal: education. Most people have no idea how dangerous the Choking Game is until it hits

Resources at Norris School District

Norris has counselors available at each building, as well as a supports on the crisis team. If you have concerns about your child or another student, contact someone on the crisis team, counselor, or administrator at your respective building.

Michael Persampieri~ School Psychologist, K-2 Counselor

Bambie Gushard~ Intermediate Counselor

Paul Bade~ Middle School Counselor

Kristi Moser~ High School Counselor

Brenda Tracy~ Crisis Team leader