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The Impact Of Death Of A Parent

2459 words - 10 pages

“Love your parents and treat them with loving care, for you will only know their value when you see their empty chair” –Unknown. Currently in America, most children take their parents or guardians for granted. Most children presume their parents are “out to ruin their lives” and are awfully bothersome. However, it is extremely difficult for a child to imagine their lives without their parents. What if a child woke up one morning to find their parent to be gone forever? To have a parent die dramatically affects a child’s life and makes them come to the realization of the thoughtfulness and love in their parent’s words and actions. In a national poll of 531 American children and teenagers who had lost a parent, 62% of the 531 children said they would give a year of their life to spend one more day with the person who died (“National Poll”). When born, a child is copiously dependent on their parents for love and life. Yet in the midst of growing up, children soon become independent and find love in and from other things and believe they are capable of taking care of themselves. Once a child’s parent dies the child is now considered as a “bereaved child”. To be bereaved means to be deprived of a loved one through a profound absence, especially due to the loved one's death. After a parent’s death, many bereaved children can suffer from long-term mental illnesses such as depression if they do not participate in activities to help with the recovery process. In the same poll mentioned earlier, 66% of the 531 children say that the death of their family member was the worst thing to ever happen to them (“National Poll”). The death of a parent causes children to respond with changes in emotion, attitude and action and bereaved children of all ages must find activities to help them cope and recover from the death before they face long-term depression and despair.
Immediately following the death of a parent, children respond in irrational and unfounded means. Because children have had their parents around their entire lives, it is a huge shock to have their parents suddenly absent eternally and most children do not know how to respond. “They cannot reflect on their own behavior beyond the moment. They cannot distinguish between inner or outer feelings. They cannot understand that their parent has feelings of their own, and that dying was not a volunteer act. They need to be told that the cause of their parent's absence has nothing to do with them” (Silverman). At such a young age, most children and teenagers do not fully comprehend the concept of death. They do not know how to immediately express their feelings and cannot accept that their parent is truly gone. It is found that many children blame themselves for their parent’s death because most children want answers and this seems to be a logical reason for them. Likewise, children often use anger as an immediate response to their parent’s death. This anger comes in forms such “boisterous play, nightmares,...

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