Posts Tagged ‘death of a parent’

Looking back at Loss

June 10, 2010

A recent Wall Street Journal article by Jeffrey Zaslow, “Families with a Missing Piece: A New Look at How a Parent’s Early Death Can Reverberate Decades Later,” raises important issues to consider if we are sincere about doing our best for all our collective children.

Obviously it is a terrible thing to lose a parent, and the article makes a number of important points, including increased risk for depression and suicide of the course of life for those who lost parents when still children.

If we are going to look out for our collective kids, it’s worth keeping in mind that when children lose a parent, things like staying engaged in activities with peers and having adults in their lives who are willing to talk with them about their feelings has been shown to make a big difference for kids.  A lot of survivors of early parent loss report that therapy and bereavement groups were not necessarily helpful, in contrast to these things tending to be comforting to adults. There are, however, non-profit camps for kids who have lost a parent, and being with other kids in similar boats does seem to offer meaningful assistance.  I also think that, as many a grown-up has experienced, the “right” therapist can be comforting while a poor match can feel like insult to injury.

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