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What to Write in a Sympathy Card to a Teenager

by Candice Coleman, studioD

Loss can be profound at any age, although it can be especially crippling for teenagers. Writing a sympathy card for a teen who has recently experienced the loss of a loved one requires sensitivity for her feelings, while also following social convention for such occasions. Writers may worry how to pen a thoughtful and comforting note, while also avoiding phrases that may upset a grieving teenager. You can even send a condolence e-mail or comment on a memorial page that the funeral home has set up.

Relationship to the Teenager

Your relationship to the grieving teenager likely plays the biggest role in what you write in a sympathy card. If you are not close to the teenager, you may want to write a brief note. A brief introduction of who you are is acceptable, as well as how you knew the deceased. If you are close to the teenager, a sympathy card is the perfect opportunity to extend your help, according to Funeralwise, a grief support website.

What to Avoid

A sympathy card may seem like the time to tell teenager to help someone close to the deceased or to emphasize how the teen will soon recover, according to the Catholic Company. In reality, these phrases can be hurtful to a teenager. Highlighting old fights or differences of opinion with the deceased can bring bad memories back to the surface. The sympathy card is not the appropriate place to detail what is happening in your life. The focus should stay on the bereaved teenager. Avoid including phrases such as, "I know how you feel," in the card.

What to Include

A teenager grieving a loss could use a few fond stories about a lost loved one. Sharing your memories of the deceased in a sympathy card may be meaningful, as well as any kind words that you may have to say about the deceased, according to the United Methodist Church. Include any offers of help that you might like to extend, like offering rides to school, according to Emily Post. For example, you might write, "Dear Jack, I was saddened when I heard about your Uncle Matthew's passing. He was friendly to everyone he met and always told the best jokes. If I can do anything to help you during this difficult time, please let me know. I am praying for you. Sincerely, Carol."

Sample Phrasing

A few stock phrases can provide a useful opening or close to your sympathy card for a teenager. Suggestions might include, "Our family is saddened by the loss of such a remarkable man," or "I will always remember the wonderful times I had with your friend." Phrases that compliment the deceased or acknowledge the pain the teenager is feeling can be useful when writing the rest of your sympathy card, according to KidsHealth.

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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