The death of a parent is considered one of the most painful, if not traumatic, experiences for a child. When death occurs during adolescence, it complicates a teenager’s natural process of defining her identity in the world. The tension between seeking independence and reliance on family support tend to magnify the process of bereavement, according to David E. Balk’s “Adolescent Encounters with Death, Bereavement, and Coping.” In most cases, teenagers in mourning suffer from low self-esteem.
How the loss of a parent affects a teenager’s self-esteem does not become clear until two years after the death, according to J. William Worden‘s “Children and Grief: When a Parent Dies.” Studies show that the difference in the levels of self-worth of bereaved versus non-bereaved children is minimal one year after the death of a parent. On the second anniversary of a parent’s death, the difference increases significantly. Bereaved children report much lower levels of self-esteem.