November 3rd, 2011
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One in nine Americans has experienced the death of a parent before the age of 20, according to the Wendt Center for Loss and Healing in Washington, DC.

The first time I read that statistic, it made me pause.  I thought about what that number meant; the human consequences of one in nine.

That’s a lot of children having their households turned upside down at a time when they need lots of love and stability.  Being a teenager is tumultuous enough.  Imagine the range of conflicting emotions the death of a parent, relative or close friend brings to them.  It’s a chaotic time and children need to be dealt with gently but honestly when a parent or any other member of their family dies.  Telling them a “story” about  the person’s death in order to protect the child or spare them pain will usually cause more emotional problems down the road because they will eventually discover the truth and then the reality of their situation may be even more traumatic.

Always answer a teen or a child’s questions honestly and directly.  If you don’t know the answer, say that you don’t have the answer for their question right now and you will try to find the answer for them.

As much as we might like it, there is no quick fix for feeling better.  The grieving process takes time and every child needs the space to grieve in their own way.

In response to the growing need for teens to explore the intense emotions that occur when they lose a loved one, the Wendt Center For Loss and Healing is sponsoring “Write It Out”, a workshop for teens dealing with grief.

“Write It Out” uses poetry and the spoken word as a way to process grief.  Lead by spoken word artist and MSW Candidate, Laurie Blair, participants will be guided through a series of prompts to inspire poetry and prose as a means of exploring and expressing one’s grief journey.  Participants will be invited to share their creations and explore the meanings and memories generated therein.

Pre-registration is required.  Please call the Wendt Center Intake Department at 202-204-5021.  The workshop will be held at Wendt Center’s Northwest Office, 4201 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC. 

When:            Friday, November 14, 2011
Time:              6-8 pm
Cost:              $20 (Scholarships are available.)
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