The Impact of Losing a Parent to Sudden Death on Six to Eleven Year Old Children
Loss and grief are part of life for everyone, however, they can often be very hard to cope with. As much as adults would like to protect children from pain that accompanies loss, do so. Losing a parent during childhood is well documented to be a stressful life event. This experience affects the total lives of the children involved – their school work, their play, their relationships with friends and family, and their thoughts about themselves. The aim of this dissertation is to explore and provide the reader with literature relating to the impact on six to eleven year old children who have lost a parent due to sudden death as well as interventions that have been developed to assist grieving children. Using a modified systematic literature review, the topics of grief, sudden death, losing a parent and grief interventions were sourced from psychoanalytic, psychological and health literature. The main themes that emerged and were discussed included: grief process, defences, emotional development, culture and rituals, environment, gender and the remaining adults. Interventions that have been developed to assist grieving children were highlighted. A number of clinical implications for child psychotherapists working with grieving children are mentioned as are a number of areas for future research.