Sample Essay

Words 970

While researchers such as Erickson and Piaget have focused on the general stages of childhood development, other researchers have focused more specifically on the ways in which children understand death and work through grief. Children of different ages, from infancy to adolescence, grieve in unique ways. Myers (1996) states in Chapter 3 on Childhood, Parenthood, and Death that while a three-year-old may not realize the permanence of death and believe that a parent may someday return, an adolescent experiencing the death of his/her parent as his first loss may believe that life will never be able to return to normal. Children may not understand all the causes or consequences of death, yet they still experience the very deepest feelings of grief (Mishne, 1992).   Because a six- to a twelve-year-old child has his or her own unique developmental characteristics he or she will experience that grief very differently than much younger children and very differently from younger children or adolescents:

“A child’s perceptions of death change with age and experience.  The pre-school and kindergarten age child may see death as temporary.  The 6-10-year-old becomes aware of the reality and finality of death.  He may be curious about death and burial rituals.  By 11, a child begins to perceive death on an adult level” (Ward & Associates, 1993).

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