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What to Do for My 19-Year-Old Son Who Lost His Father 6 Years Ago?

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My 19 year old has random, out of the blue, fits of crying and anger about losing his father six years ago to cancer. My son was seven when we divorced and really was absent from my son’s life, until 10 months before his death. In high school I believe my son used the “but my dad died card” to get out of trouble. I know it affects him but so out of the blue. After his father’s death, my son spoke to someone from hospice only once then no more. Can you give me some insight on this process please? Also his father was an alcoholic and abused drugs. Thank You.

What to Do for My 19-Year-Old Son Who Lost His Father 6 Years Ago?

Answered by on -

A.

You haven’t told me very much about your son. You do mention that he used the “but my dad died card” when he got in trouble. You also mentioned the fact that your son had very little to do with his father, since he was seven years old and now your son is 19.

Your son is having fits of crying and anger. Could these also be a “but my father died card?” I suspect that they might be. Grieving varies from person to person and the extent of the grieving is directly dependent upon the closeness of the individual to the person who died. According to your letter, your son was not very close to his father and thus the loss of his father should not cause much emotional distress. Even if your son was very close to his father I would be concerned by the type of behavior that your son shows; fits of anger and fits of crying.

A 19-year-old can have many problems, many doubts, many pains and many insecurities. Though he may mention his father during these fits of behavior the cause of his distress may be other than the loss of a distant father.

Regardless of the cause, I would strongly recommend counseling. It could very well solve your son’s problems. Good luck.

Dr. Kristina Randle

What to Do for My 19-Year-Old Son Who Lost His Father 6 Years Ago?

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). What to Do for My 19-Year-Old Son Who Lost His Father 6 Years Ago?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 19, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2017/01/20/what-to-do-for-my-19-year-old-son-who-lost-his-father-6-years-ago/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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