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by Abigail Van Buren

Teen Pulls Back From Summer Workouts Following Friend's Death

DEAR ABBY: My 14-year-old son, "Jeff," received word that one of his friends was killed in a tragic ATV accident a week ago. His only experience with death before this was a sick great-grandparent we were able to say goodbye to.

Jeff and I are close, and I have let him know that however he needs to grieve is OK. He says he's "good." I am concerned that my son is taking the loss harder than he lets on.

Jeff and his friend loved team sports and were in the same group for summer workouts. Jeff has been to only one workout since his friend's death. I know this is recent and he needs time, but I also know the physical activity and the camaraderie would be good for him.

I'm trying not to smother him or project my own grief onto him (we are a tight sports community), but I'm unsure what to do. Can you offer some advice on how I can best support him? -- GRIEVING, TOO, IN OREGON

DEAR GRIEVING, TOO: When a tragedy happens to someone in a teenager's circle, the friends sometimes pull together to support each other. Contact the coach of the team to which your son and his late friend belonged. The surviving team members may need help and possibly grief counseling. If that isn't necessary, the coach may be able to offer the boys other constructive outlets for their grief or provide you with suggestions.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Death | Teens