How to help young people who have lost a parent
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How to help young people who have lost a parent

Young people who lose a parent go through an experience unlike any other

How to help young people who have lost a parent
The Mighty

Earlier this week, I celebrated the fourth anniversary of my dad's passing, and I have to say, It doesn't get easier. I still feel a deep sadness for losing my dad, and I was only 16 when I lost him, making it something, not a whole lot of people my age can relate to.

However, that being said, there are several things I want people to know about having a friend who has lost a parent.

1. It doesn't get easier for a while.

There will days that will always not be as good as other days, and while you learn to go on with life, some things will be hard. My dad's passing is unique in the sense that he passed away on his birthday, making the day extremely hard. It always is just kind of rough, though time makes it easier.

2. Somethings will never seem normal again.

Whether it be family reunions or getting together for the holidays, there will be somethings that will always be different, and maybe even a little empty. That being said, there are many things to do to celebrate your passed ones, and holidays can still be festive as ever. I know, though when I go over to a friends house and both of their parents are there, that is such a strange concept for me, as it is something I haven't had for a while, and will never have again.

3. Sometimes the best thing you can do as a supportive friend is just listen.

I know there were many days where I just wanted a friend to listen to me talk about my problems. And if not, try to think of something fun and quiet you both can do. Several hours after my dad passed, I went over to my friend's house and we watched a couple movies and made dinner. It was a great way to remove me from the situation and focus on enjoying life for a moment.

4. It's okay if you don't know where your friend is coming from.

Grief is a very intense thing, and losing a parent is a very unique and difficult experience. Just because you can't empathize with them, doesn't mean you can't be a good friend. You can still listen and just be a good buddy of moral support. Knowing you are there if your friend needs anything is amazing, even if it's getting ice cream at two in the morning, is enough. Trust me.

5. Know that while some people don't like you complaining about your parents after they lost theirs, doesn't mean you don't have a right to be upset about your parents and get your feelings invalidated.

This is probably my most important piece of advice, and I personally for one, don't mind if you are having an issue with a parent or parent figure and need someone to complain about it too. Just because I have lost a parent does not mean you have to have your experiences invalidated, nor should you compare your struggles to another person, that just causes a lot of pain on both sides.

6. Don't compare losing a close family member to losing a pet.

Just. Don't. Do. This. Trust me.

7. While using personal experiences can be helpful, try and see what your friend needs as well.

Relating personal stories is one of the best ways people connect, but make sure your stories don't start off with "Well this isn't as hard as.." or "I wasn't as young as you when I lost..." This completely under minds your friend's struggle and kind of throws in back in their face.

And lastly,

8. Cliché sayings don't help typically.

Saying they are in a better place or that this happened for a reason is NOT the right response. Once again, it lessens the issue and throws it under the rug, and you might as well as say you don't care. While it comes with good intentions, know that it can come across as belittling too.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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