Rutgers scholar Erica Goldblatt Hyatt, author of Grieving for the Sibling You Lost, is available to comment on teen siblings, called "forgotten mourners", and the grieving process in light of Kobe Bryant’s death. Goldblatt Hyatt is an expert in thanatology, the study of death and the needs of the terminally ill and their families.
“The tragic news of the deaths of Kobe Bryant and his young daughter, Gigi, may be especially triggering for grieving teen siblings, especially as Gigi leaves behind three surviving sisters,” Goldblatt Hyatt said. “Often called ‘forgotten mourners,’ teen siblings may feel ignored by adults and caregivers who are more concerned for the needs of surviving parents. They can respond in a variety of ways, such as by pushing forward and pretending everything is fine, even trying to take care of others while inside they are feeling overlooked and resentful, or by trying to replicate habits and traits of the sibling who died or even by engaging in risky behaviors like truancy and substance use. The early aftermath of tragedy presents a valuable opportunity for caring adults, mentors and teachers to check in with grieving teens and let them know that their feelings matter, too.
“The outpouring of public grief over Kobe Bryant’s death may trigger painful memories for new and old grievers. This isn’t an abnormal reaction to celebrity death. Rather, it’s expected and understandable, and grievers need to feel as though they can reach out for extra support during this time of national mourning."
Goldblatt Hyatt is an assistant teaching professor and assistant director of the DSW program at the Rutgers School of Social Work.
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