How to help your tween cope with the death of Cameron Boyce

On Sunday, July 7, 2019, we all woke up to the news of Disney channel star, 20-year-old Cameron Boyce passing.  He was most noted for his roles on Jessie and The Descendants franchise.  

Why his legacy is important

Cameron was of African, Carribean and Jewish descent.  As a bi-racial child of a black father and white mother, Cameron was going to be a bi-racial Prince in the Descendants franchise.  This was huge in the lineage of previous Disney fairytales with white Princes.  

Cameron was the grandson of civil rights activist, Jo Ann Boyce.  Jo Ann Boyce was one of the twelve students who would become the Clinton 12.  At the age of 14, Jo Ann and eleven other students became the first African American students to attend an integrated public high school following the 1954 Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown vs The Board of Education.

Understanding our world

In a world where the words “Colored” and “Not my Ariel” was trending on Twitter on July 4, 2019, a loss of this magnitude is bigger than a teen crush.  Cameron’s grandmother helped break barriers in paving the way for Halle Bailey to be cast as an African American mermaid.  Our children are growing up in a world where news is at their fingertips.  My daughter knew of Cameron’s passing before I woke up this morning.  That left me with very little time to prepare for a conversation with her.

My son sent me a text when he woke up to warn me this would be my 13-year-olds first Celebrity death.  I remember his.  I remember when the news broke on the radio about the passing of Micheal Jackson and how hurt he was.  It was the first time we had to have a “talk” about death, dying, living and making an impact on the world.

How I helped her cope

  • Watch the videos…….all of them. LOL!  No seriously, once I noticed my daughter was going down a rabbit hole on the internet, watching every video she possibly could to consume everything about Cameron’s last moments on this earth, I watched with her.
  • Give her a break… son told her she had until 4 pm to watch all the videos she wanted but after that, they were going to do something fun.
  • Respect their feelings and validate them…..this may very well your tween/teen daughter’s first major Celebrity death as well.  As a parent do you remember a major celebrity death that crushed you?  Mine was Luther Vandross—and I remember getting Luther albums and books for my birthday from my mom following his death because she knew how much I loved him.
  • Prepare for the Descendants release…..The current release date for the Disney’s Descendants 3 release is August 2, 2019.  In less than a month, Cameron will be plastered everywhere.  The watch parties will be plentiful.  His face will literally be all over the Disney channel and social media.  
  • Be there……plain and simple.  Just BE THERE for your daughters at this time.  Barnes and Noble carry all of the book series about the Descendants.  (Possibly prepare for a shortage).  Be present for their very real, very validated feelings at this time.  July 7, 2019, is a day many of them will never forget.

Until next time, I’m sending love and light to Cameron’s family, the Disney Channel family, and all tween and teens across the world mourning his untimely death.



2 Thoughts to “How to help your tween cope with the death of Cameron Boyce”

  1. I am the mother of a new Teen, Tween and even my 5 year old knows “Luke”. It hit our home hard as well, we prayed for Cameron’s family for the loss of their son, brother and his friends. Its hard watching your children hurt and I love your tip. Just “be there”! Great reminder!

  2. Viv

    Thank you for this, I know so many parents struggling with how to deal with something like this. The only thing I would add is to check in on the young boys as well– girls won’t be the only mourners, and many times boys are not taught how to maneuver grief and its accompanying emotions.

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