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Young Adults with Dying Parents

Being a young adult with a gravely ill parent is a very difficult situation that we would not wish on anyone.  It is unfortunately more common that you might think. Yet as we speak there are many children, teens and young adults with a dying parent.  Depending on the home situation, these young adults become responsible for caring for parents or even younger siblings.

For teens, their lives become vastly different than those of their peers.  They carry far more responsibility than most.  While their situation cannot be changed, there are some ways to approach the heightened responsibilities that can help teens make the best of this difficult time in their life.

The topics covered below are ones that should be discussed with the young adult. If you are the young adult, we urge you to consider this advice. Our 25 years in the industry can help you or someone you know going through this difficult journey.

First, it helps to understand that life throws up roadblocks for everyone.  No one would ask for such a difficult burden, but everyone must deal with the challenges that have been thrust upon them.  I say take it on, and give it your best.  It is only later in life when we reflect upon the challenges we have faced, that we realize they made us stronger. That is why it is important that youth are connected with the wisdom and advice of those who have lived much longer. And that is why this article was written: to share my wisdom with the aim of helping those in need. I know a terminally ill parent or sudden loss of a parent is not fair, but we have to do our best.

As a teen in this position, are you giving up some of your precious teen years?  Yes.  It is okay to do that; you will feel plenty young for many years to come.  Events like these shape us as people, and it is up to us to determine how we . Do what is right for your parent and family now. They need you.

There will be days that your parent will attempt to send you off to be with friends. Do just that. Be with friends, attend sporting events, or head to a movie.  Get away, and have no regret.  It is okay to be a kid for a few hours, to have fun, to play, to laugh, and to just hang out with friends.  You should not hold a round-the-clock vigil.  Your parent will tell you to go, and they mean it. They also need time alone, time away from you.  Look at it both ways if you can.

Almost all children will lose their parents in their lifetime.  It rarely feels fair or right.  It usually involves your time.  The fact that it is happening while you are young is just the way it is.  Life is like that, filled with many unpredictable events that are not under your control.  Just give it all you’ve got every day, and utilize a support system of loving, caring people with your best interest in mind.  It is the best any of us can do.

Should a parent pass away, grief counseling does wonders through everyone who has used our Grief Resource Center. It is 100% free to those who need it. We serve over 5,000+ people every year. So keep that in mind should you or a loved one benefit from such a strong support network. 

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