How to Listen

During such a hard life experience, reliable and trustworthy friends are one of the most important things a teen who has lost their parent will need. As a fundamental part of your friend’s support system, be sure that your friend knows that you will be there for them if they want to talk about how they feel, or even just about anything else. We all learned it in kindergarten: a good listener is attentive and kind; yet, this can be an attitude that is usually easier said than done, an attitude that can be hard to maintain over long periods of time.

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Embarrassing Mom

My mom can be completely embarrassing around my friends. Sometimes they come over, and she doesn’t know how to “play it cool” or be “one of the guys” like my dad did. Sometimes she tries to watch the football game with us like my dad did. How do I tell her that we need our space, without hurting her feelings?

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Family, Friends, and Psychologists

When things are hard, we all need somebody with whom to talk. Death is hard; there’s no getting around it. It’s a part of life that is absolutely necessary, yet incredibly troubling. When you’re close with your parents, you can go to them for advice if you have a problem. But to whom can we go to when our parents die? When bad stuff happens, a parent can comfort you. When a parent is no longer there, you can feel helpless, alone, and confused. There are other people who can talk to you, give you advice, and comfort you.

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Yelling into Pillows

When you have an especially bad day, sometimes all you want to do is scream. But, if you scream at people, you could strain your relationship with them; they may feel more distant towards you, despite their efforts to sympathize with you. You could also run the risk of being sent to a psychologist. I personally was sent to a psychologist, but I didn’t enjoy it. I learned that the best place to scream is into your pillow, not at others. Not only does the pillow not get upset, but other people in the house won’t hear!

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Triggers

There are going to be conversation topics, movies, words, songs, scents, items, and places that bring you back to the time when your parent died. These things can suddenly bring you back to a day, a week or just a moment. Whenever I smell strong cleaning products, I go back to that Tuesday night in the ICU room at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

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