young teen response to death and griefFri, May 30th 2008
My daughter (let's call her Sally) is 13. In the past year she has lost two very close friends and one older person who she knew as a long time friend of the family. Her grandmother is 91 and we are near to losing her. Sally - from my father's perspective - seems a normal young person trying to find what she likes, testing her independence, etc.. She is physically and emotionally (socially) ahead of most of her peers. She is B student, loves music, hates to read, loves sports, and has a few very close girl friends. She avoids the "mean girl's" clique thing like the plague. She is adopted and has always known this and embraced it as part of her identity. Recently she began a texting conversation with a boy at school. We got access to it and discovered it to be full of "adult" language of a highly sexual nature, e.g. she asked "what is the horniest thought you've had about me?" The 13 yr old boy's responses had similar intensity of language. We had a conversation with Sally about this. After about 30 minutes of back and forth, she finally said: "Do you really want to know why I did this? I did it because I still think about my friend's deaths and it bothers me. Sometimes at night I think about it a lot. Doing this (ie sexual conversations with the boy) made me forget." So, my question....is there a link between this kind of "acting out," "out of sync" 13 yr old behavior and what seems to be unresolved grief? Might her adoption (which could now - as she is older and thinks about it more) include feelings of loss? What can/should we do to support her in resolving this?
THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION WILL NOT BE DISPLAYED UNTIL YOU HAVE INDICATED YOUR AGREEMENT WITH THE DISCLAIMER PRINTED JUST BELOW. CLICK THE 'I AGREE' BUTTON TO AGREE TO THESE TERMS AND SEE THE RESPONSE.
- Dr. Schwartz responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
- Dr. Schwartz intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
- Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
- No correspondence takes place.
- No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Schwartz to people submitting questions.
- Dr. Schwartz, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Schwartz and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
- Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.