At this stage, children are more likely to understand abstract concepts such as death. They are also at a point when they have more knowledge about how the body works, so be prepared with specific questions they might have. It is very important that your answers are always factual and specific. They might also be more vulnerable and insecure at this time because, aside from the death of a loved one, they are also going through a lot of changes — so give them sufficient opportunities to have conversations with you so they can express their feelings of pain and grief.
Because of their growing independence, teenagers usually feel the need to keep their feelings of grief to themselves to show the people around them that they’re grown up and can control how they feel. But because this is most often not the case, they are more likely to engage in high-risk behavior because they are unable to properly express their feelings, especially after the death of a loved one. Although they might feel more comfortable talking to their peers and friends, do not feel disappointed. If anything, this will help them open up their feelings and will make way for healing. This doesn’t mean though that you no longer talk to them. Create opportunities where you can talk about the loss, listen to their concerns, empathize with them, and assure them that you are there to help them cope.
While you might feel it will be helpful to hide your grief to protect your child, a lot of people have found that being honest about their sorrow is better. It helps their children see that grieving is natural, normal, and healing.
Try not to avoid talking about the deceased loved one because your child may feel that you are keeping secrets or that you are trying to erase the memories of the person. In truth, being able to talk about the deceased person, especially the positive qualities of the person, may make way for faster healing.
Understandably, there are a lot of things that should be done at this point in your life, and yes, you might sometimes feel consumed by your pain, but do not forget that your children need you at this time just as much as you need them.