The Teenage Brain and Grief

How Does the Teenage Brain Handle it?

What are the 5 Stages of Grief?

Shock & Denial

  • Refusal
  • Help person function during time
  • Feel surreal

  • Blaming others/Lash outs
  • Help move through rest of stages


  • Cutting contract with self - fantasizing that it's a dream
  • Helps person feel control

  • "What if's"
  • Turns anger/blame towards self. "False Guilt"
  • Powerless

  • Trust life and the good in it
  • Forgive loss/someone
  • Lose bitterness and revenge
  • Move on - taking power back
  • Find new purpose/meaning for life

The Colonel & Pudge V.S The 5 Stages of Grief

Both The Colonel & Pudge didn't spend much time facing denial or bargaining, but they struggled through their anger. They were angry at Alaska for her stupidity and poor decisions, but then they faced grief and started blaming themselves. They focused on the 'what ifs' and tried to think of ways they could have saved her. Eventually they forgave themselves and moved on.

How to Help a Teenager in Grief

Saying 'be strong' or 'move on' can actually cause more pressure.
Some ways to help are as follows:

  • Continue showing support
  • Understanding the importance
  • Support groups

"By 'walking with' a teen in grief, you are giving one of life's most precious gifts -- yourself."

Looking For Alaska

The characters in Looking For Alaska help each other with the loss of Alaska. They work together to try to learn why she did what she did and in that process, they learn to move on.

Changes In The Brain

During the teen years the brain is reshaped and reconstructed while enduring hormones, current needs and experiences. ‘What a teen does and is exposed to during this critical time in life, has a large influence on the teen’s future, because experience and current needs shape the pruning and spurting process in the brain.” - Doctor Robert Hedaya


Phonelines offered to those during a crisis.