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Dealing with grief

Girl with curly hair crying.

Traumatic events — such as divorce, violence, or abuse, and the death of a friend, family member, or pet — can leave you feeling frightened, confused, and insecure. This is perfectly normal. But whether you have personally experienced trauma, have seen it on television, or merely heard adults talking about it, it can have an effect on you.

What is grief?

When we have emotional, physical, and spiritual reactions in response to a death or loss, it's known as grief or grieving. People who are grieving might:

  • Feel strong emotions, such as sadness and anger
  • Have physical reactions, such as not sleeping or feeling sick to their stomach
  • Have spiritual reactions to a death. For example, some people may feel disappointed in their religion, while others find that they feel more strongly than ever about their faith.

How can you deal with grief?

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Some girls deal with their sadness by doing things that are dangerous, like drinking, drugs, or cutting themselves. Doing things like these may seem to numb the pain, but these are not healthy ways to deal with your sadness. They can cause even more problems for you. Instead of dealing with the pain, drinking, drugs, and cutting only cover it up. Those feelings will still stay inside of you, and can get worse.

If you sadness is unbearable and you feel like hurting yourself, or if you think about suicide, tell an adult you know and trust.

Dealing with divorce

Girl with her parents fighting in the background.A divorce happens when two parents decide that they can’t live together anymore and that they no longer want to be married.

Are your parents getting a divorce? Or maybe some of your friends’ parents are divorced? Chances are you know someone who is dealing with divorce. The first thing to remember is that while there are many reasons that two people might get divorced, it’s not your fault! Kids don’t cause divorce. Don’t feel as if you could have done anything differently. Divorce is only between adults! It has nothing to do with whether or not you keep your room clean, or if you did poorly on a spelling test.

If your parents are getting a divorce, it’s normal to feel mad, sad, or scared. Your world is changing. It’s hard to be a kid and not have any control over what happens. There are things you can do to feel better, though. Check out some of the steps in How Can You Deal with Grief? And remember to talk to your parents about how you are feeling.

 

Content last reviewed May 18, 2010
Page last updated April 09, 2014

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health.

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