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Death and Dying The effects on parents with the sudden loss of a child Statement of the Problem How do parents cope with the death of a child when the natural grieving process is interrupted? What health effects does the death of a child have on the parents? The Grieving Process 1. Shock

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death and dying

Death and Dying

The effects on parents with the sudden loss of a child

statement of the problem
Statement of the Problem
  • How do parents cope with the death of a child when the natural grieving process is interrupted?
  • What health effects does the death of a child have on the parents?
the grieving process
The Grieving Process

1. Shock

The initial emotion that one feels is a feeling of shock and total astonishment.

2. Denial

Can not believe what has happened so we go on thinking that nothing has happened.

grieving process cont
Grieving Process, Cont.

3. Anger and Guilt

A reaction of anger comes from feelings of unfairness, abandonment, or feeling powerless attached with the loss.

You feel guilt when you feel that you have violated your own standard of feel that you have let others down in some way.

grieving process cont5
Grieving Process, Cont.

4. Depression

When one begins to feel overwhelmed by what has happened and feel hopeless, this is usually when the depression sets in.

5. Acceptance

For most this is the final stage of the grieving process. We come to terms with the loss, and are ready to move on with our lives.

grieving process cont6
Grieving Process, Cont.

6. Empowerment

This is a step beyond acceptance. Not all people get to this stage. Your loss is integrated as part of your identity. It cultivates within you a newfound hunger for life, it drives you forward.

psychological effects of death
Psychological Effects of Death

-Depression

-Difficulty with social functioning

-Overall psychological well-being

-Reactivity to good events

-Future worries and concerns

physical effects of death
Physical Effects of Death

-Weight loss

-Difficulty sleeping

-Irritable of listless

-Hair loss

possible solutions
Possible Solutions
  • Parents must get through, not over, their grief
  • Finding solace in their religion
  • Finding comfort in rituals:

- Funerals or memorial services

  • Acknowledging and sharing their grief
  • Finding comfort in friends and family
  • Helping yourself through:

- self-expression

- good physical care

- emotionally

erickson s developmental perspective
Erickson’s Developmental Perspective
  • “Some changes are expected to occur throughout the lifespan-baby to child to adult.”
  • Sudden death of a child is so unwanted and unexpected it can cause major changes in how someone handles grief
  • When death is sudden, grief is highly intensified
family lifecycle
Family Lifecycle
  • Carter and McGoldrick have proposed the following family lifecycle:
    • Leaving home: single young adults
    • The joining of families through marriage: the new couple
    • Families with young children
    • Families with adolescents
    • Launching children and moving on
    • Families in later life
slide15
When a child dies, there is a break in the cycle, with the parents not being able to complete the last 3 stages for that child as planned (families with adolescents, launching children and moving on, and families in later life)
what is lost
What is lost?
  • In a study done by Edelstein, there are three major types of loss for a parent, especially the mother:
    • The loss of a loved child as an aspect of one’s self
    • The loss of future hopes and expectations
    • The confrontation with false illusions as a result of the death
dealing with the death of a child
Dealing with the death of a child
  • Most common solution is to seek professional help
  • Support groups are the most recommended solution
  • According to The Compassionate Friends organization the best solution on how to cope, is to find another family in the same situation!
  • To best address a parent’s grief, treatment should be individualized.
what makes this successful
What makes this successful?
  • In working with a therapist or a support group, the parent must:
    • Move through all stages of the grieving process.
    • Have the ability to discuss the lost child.
summary and conclusions
Summary and Conclusions

Children are not supposed to die...Parents expect to see their children grow and mature. Ultimately, parents expect to die and leave their children behind...This is the natural course of life events, the life cycle continuing as it should. The loss of a child is the loss of innocence, the death of the most vulnerable and dependent. The death of a child signifies the loss of the future, of hopes and dreams, of new strength, and of perfection. - Arnold and Gemma 1994

the effects on health for parents with a sudden loss of a child
The Effects on Health for Parents with a Sudden Loss of a Child

Physical Effects

  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in weight
  • Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Headache
  • Palpitations
  • Hair loss
  • Gastrointestinal distress
the effects on health for parents with a sudden loss of a child21
TheEffectson Health for Parents with a Sudden Loss of a Child

Psychological Effects

  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Helplessness
  • Emotional swings
  • Irritability
  • Apathy
  • Disbelief
  • Impaired concentration
  • Lowered self-esteem
  • Hallucination
  • Feelings of unreality, numbness, denial
effects on health if not addressed
Effects on Health if not Addressed
  • Alcoholand drug abuse
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Higher risk for health problems mentioned and death
  • Depression
  • Emotional distress
possible solutions23
Possible Solutions
  • Parents must get through, not over, their grief
  • Finding solace in their religion
  • Finding comfort in rituals:

- Funerals or memorial services

  • Acknowledging and sharing their grief
  • Finding comfort in friends and family
  • Helping yourself through:

- self-expression

- good physical care

- emotionally

ways that help parents cope and heal from the sudden loss of a child
Ways that help parents cope and heal from the sudden loss of a child
  • Admitting to themselves and others that their grief is overwhelming, unpredictable, painful, draining, and exhausting—that the situation should not be ignored.
  • Allowing yourself to experience the pain of grief and working through it.
  • Having someone to share feelings with.
  • A support group
  • Keeping a diary or journal
  • Talking about the loss and encouraging others to talk of the child.
  • Accepting the reality of the loss.
  • Counting on, confiding in, and trusting those who care.
  • Increasing exercise and maintaining a healthful diet.
  • Accepting that they are allowed to feel pleasure and continue their lives.
selected solution
Selected Solution
  • The solution that repeatedly appeared in both the research and on the information websites, was the use of therapy and support groups.
  • These methods helped to face the loss and provided two main focal points:
    • Allowing the name and memory of the child to be addressed
    • Finding other families that have been through a similar loss