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How Do You Deal With the Unexpected?

by Jennifer S. Rowe | January 2nd, 2015 | Safety, Teens

teen crying (400x400)When it comes to teenagers, I think we can all agree that there are some behaviors that are universal and we can certainly all relate to. Once you have a teen son or daughter, believe me, you know it! Mood changes, body changes, peer pressure and a plethora of other lovely little attitudes to deal with. How then do you handle the unexpected?

Something recently happened in my son’s life that I don’t think anyone is really ever prepared to deal with as a parent or a classmate. Over the Thanksgiving break, one of my son’s classmates, who is 13, and his 9 year old brother who happens to go to school with my younger son were visiting their father for the holiday. The dad and boys shared a love for the outdoors, and loved to hunt together. During one such outing, the older brother was cleaning his gun and the unthinkable happened. The gun went off, and he shot and killed his younger brother; a horrible accident. It’s hard to even write this story; still thinking of the pain, panic, and whatever else you could possibly imagine that ensued following the shooting. Suffice it to say, along with the family, this community is devastated.

I can tell you that my son had no idea how to process all of this, and became very quiet and sad. This is my son’s first experience with death and it has shaken him to his core. I think that when you’re young, you think “this will not happen to me” for a very long time, not realizing none of us knows how long we have. Of course, you don’t want your teen to be sad and depressed constantly thinking about death, but when it happens, be prepared to love, be supportive, and be ready to answer some questions they may have. The memorial service, as you can imagine, was very somber and the family did their best to make it a celebration of life. There were so many teenagers there to support the older son, and many younger kids to pay their respects to the young boy who loved baseball.

There was also an outpouring of help for all of the teens to deal with this tragedy both in the church and the counseling community. It’s so important to make sure that if you can’t help your teen through difficult times such as these that you find someone who can. Make sure that your teens know it’s ok to ask for help to deal with the feelings they don’t understand, and then help guide them through whatever course is best for them. As for me and my son, we prayed, cried and talked, and then cried and prayed some more. It takes work to keep the lines of communication open, but I would not have it any other way.

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