How to Be a Comfort to Teenagers When Their Mom Is Dying

by Candice Coleman

A teenager whose parent is dying may experience a wide range of emotions, from intense sadness to relief that his mother's pain will end. Surrounding a grieving teenager with love and support can help him rebuild his life and create stronger relations with friends and family members. Loved ones can do plenty to help a teenager struggling with grief.

Talk about a dying parent with the teenager, saying, "I am sorry about your mom. She is a very kind and funny lady." While some may worry that bringing up a dying parent will cause more grief, it can actually be a stress outlet for teenagers, according to KidsHealth.

Give the teenager an opportunity to talk, too. If your attempts at starting a conversation are ignored or pushed aside, it may not be the right time to talk about her dying mother. If she is willing to talk, hear her out and ask her if she would like any advice or help. Offering to help her write a eulogy, for example, may be a kind gesture that she remembers for life, according to Hospice Net, a non-profit organization educating people on grief.

Mow the lawn, shovel snow, care for pets or contact the teenager's school for homework -- these are all welcome gestures for the teen's household that take off some stress, according to PBS Kids. Ask the family first and offer suggestions for any chores that need completing.

Prepare a favorite dessert or bring over the teenager's favorite books; kind acts can go a long way in supporting a grief-stricken teen.

Tell a grieving teenager, "I will be here if you need me. I will check in on you again in a few days." Know when to keep your distance, but keep a look-out for any signs that a teenager may need additional help, such as if he mentions self-harm. Recommending a grief counselor to the teenager's parent may help him find comfort, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.


  • Listen to the teenager's desires. If she does not want anyone else to know that her mother is dying, keep it in confidence. Knowing that you are reliable and trustworthy can help teenagers cope during times of loss.

About the Author

Candice Coleman worked in the public school system as a middle school and high school substitute teacher. In addition to teaching, she is also a tutor for high school and college students.

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