You can imagine my distress and complete bafflement yesterday at the funeral service when it dawned on me that out of the hundred or so teens present that there were only a handful of parents there to support their children; even the teachers and administrators sat with their peers. My heart broke for the little girl wiping her tears on her jacket because she had no tissue (I gave her some of ours). I wanted to gather all of the weeping babies masquerading as adults for comfort. I wanted to take each of them home and give their absent parents a piece of my mind along with a good flogging.
DD didn't ask me to be there for her. It was just always how it was going to be. There was no question in her mind that her J-Me would be her rock always. Our communication was mainly about how she wanted to show her respect for her dear friend. Prior to our arrival I had already found out from DD that she was not up for viewing her friend's body. I knew that she wanted to sit with me and not her other classmates. She knew that I would not leave her side. We had gone into this endeavor as a team. I am not some saint parent! I am not even a perfect parent. However, I knew that my place was there mothering my girl!
Teens are closer to adulthood than childhood. I get that. However, according to HospiceNet.org, "At the same time the bereaved teen is confronted by the death of someone loved, he or she also faces psychological, physiological and academic pressures. While teens may begin to look like 'men' or 'women', they will still need consistent and compassionate support as they do the work of mourning, because physical development does not always equal emotional maturity." This was in evidence by the hysterical crying of many of DD's classmates and buzzy bee-ing from pew to pew prior to the service beginning.
I am always surprised by the lack of parenting I perceive in our particular community. It's as if affluence gives these people some get-out-of-parenting-free card. Of course they think I am over-the-top-s-mothering DD. To double check myself, I went online to research when, as a parent, you are crossing the line of mothering to smothering when it comes to grief and dying because obviously I don't still tie girl child's shoes for her (BTW--kidshealth.org has one of the best articles for teens to read when they are experiencing a loss).
The National Association of School Psychologists has an amazing guide for teachers and parents that talks about support of children in their grieving and groups it by age. For teens, they state:
Children need reassurance from caregivers and teachers that their own families are safe. For children who have experienced their own loss (previous death of a parent, grandparent, sibling), observing the grief of a friend can bring back painful memories. These children are at greater risk for developing more serious stress reactions and should be given extra support as needed.
|RockerChick and Darling Daughter, vacation 2010|