We are really excited to let you know about a new grief resource for grieving teens that came out this year. But before we do I need to make a small confession: Eleanor and I can be a little critical when it comes to grief resources. That probably doesn’t paint the best picture of us, but it’s true. We believe good grief support is incredibly important. We also believe that grief resources can and should be smart and sound, practical, interesting, engaging, relevant, relatable and creative. It’s a tall order, we know! But there are folks out there who are meeting and exceeding our [sometimes excessively high] bar, and we want you to know about them. Though it may sound like we’re overly demanding, it’s only because we want to make sure what we share with you is the best of the best. There are a lot of grief resources out there to sort through, but if we go out of our way to tell you about something, it is because we think it is pretty darn great!
Without further ado, we want to tell you about
Deconstruction/Reconstruction – a fantastic new teen grief journal put out by our grief friends at the Dougy Center.
If you don’t know The Dougy Center, they are the children’s grief center we all wish we had in our cities (unless you live in Portland, Oregon – then you just thank your lucky stars that they’re your neighbor). We have been fans of The Dougy Center since way back in our pre-WYG work. We would order their resources for the grieving families in the bereavement program where we worked. Time and again we were impressed with their resources (one of the earliest posts on WYG was a review of their After a Suicide Activity Book for Grieving Kids) and this journal is no exception.
What we love about the
Deconstruction/Reconstruction teen grief journal:
- In a quick two page intro they cover all the bases that a teen should know about grief: it isn’t linear, it doesn’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end, there is no right or wrong way to grieve, coping is about figuring out what works for each individual, grief is about finding a new sense of self, remembering, memorializing, it looks different for everyone, not everyone was close to the person who died, other people say and do the wrong things, and on and on. They hit all the big stuff and we love that.
- It’s structured but flexible. Each page is a guided activity, but some of those activities offer lots of freedom and flexibility while others offer a lot of very specific prompts. This creates a perfect balance that we think will work well for teens who need a lot of guidance and direction, as well as those who prefer to go off-script and express well on their own.
- The aesthetic is simple and engaging. We think good aesthetics go a long way when it comes to a journal. You want a journal you are excited to pick up, but not own that is so over-designed that you don’t have plenty of space and make it your own. This journal strikes the perfect balance, with great, crisp design but black and white pages with plenty of space and customizability.
- It’s a great balance of grief-journal and journal-journal. A journal that is aaaaall about grief can feel a little heavy, which makes it harder to get motivated to write on tough days. It is not only okay but healthy to spend some time journaling about grief and some time just writing and reflecting on other areas of life. With activities as simple as “100 Things I Want To Do!” and “Create A List Of What You’re Afraid Of” this journal strikes a great balance.
What we really really loved about the
Deconstruction/Reconstruction teen grief journal:
- It isn’t just a writing journal. Though many of the activities are writing activities, there are activities that involve drawing, painting, collaging, etc. Beyond that, there are a fair number of pages with prompts that are followed by blank pages that could be used for whatever medium you pick.
- It doesn’t sugar-coat, give advice or platitudes. As the back of the journal describes, this is a space to write, draw, paint etc. It doesn’t ever fall into the trap of telling a teen what to do, think, feel, etc about their loss and their grief.
- It tackles a range of topic in creative and engaging ways. We have seen more than our fair share of grief journals made of prompt after prompt that follow the same, standard “write about this” format. We love that this journal gets very creative in how it approaches a lot of topics, including emotions.
- Last but not least, it’s available online for those of us who aren’t lucky enough to live in Portland, OR. Additionally, if you decide to order one for a grieving teen in your life you can feel good knowing the purchase supports a great organization.
Interested in doing some journaling? We always have a self-guided journaling course running, and Monday September 4th we have an interactive 30 day journaling bootcamp starting up. Register Here!
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