A child in the face of a parent’s death: Aspects of children’s loneliness
Languages of publication
Introduction: Among bereaved families, numerous tensions, stressors, and anxieties that are direct consequences of the loss of close relatives can be observed. Effective mitigation of these concerns depends heavily on the depth of the feeling of loneliness as well as on various factors that determine it. Purpose: To determine the impact of the death of a parent on children’s feelings of loneliness within their own families. Material and methods: A total of 10 families (6 mothers, 4 fathers, and 15 children) from the city of Białystok who had been in mourning during the two-year period were included in this qualitative research. The case study method was applied in addition to the following research techniques: structured interview, narrative interview, the Rotter Incomplete Sentences Blank projective technique, and an analysis of children’s activity products (essay entitled “My Family”). Results: The youngest children were characterized by less-intense feelings of loneliness, as they do not yet understand the irreversibility of death, whereas children at ages 12 to 14, aware of human life’s stability and persistence, felt the state of loneliness significantly more deeply. To cope with its presence, the children and their families usually used informal social support (parents, grandparents, siblings, or friends) rather than seeking the help of qualified social service professionals. Conclusions: Talking with children about death and remembering a deceased parent with them are integral parts of the mourning process. Before children can accept their loss, they feel a great need for talking and having the company of other family members in experiencing their pain. There are a number of critically important tasks that a family in mourning needs to face, including the following: helping to understand the need for breaking personal ties with the deceased and reducing the internal tension caused by the loss; modifying former structure, duties, and family roles; and the need for the bereaved family, especially its children, to find new relationships in the outside world.
- Kmiecik-Baran K. Poczucie osamotnienia – charakterystyka zjawiska. Przegl Psychol. 1988; XXXI, 4, 1086. (Polish)
- Olearczyk TE. Sieroctwo i osamotnienie. Pedagogiczne problemy kryzysu współczesnej rodziny. Wyższa Szkoła Filozoficzno-Pedagogiczna "Ignatianum", Kraków; 2007. 96p. (Polish)
- Young JE. Loneliness, depression and cognitive therapy: Theory and application. Peplan L. A., Perlman (eds.), Loneliness: A sourcebook of current theory, research and therapy. N.Y. 1982.
- Perlman D, Peplan LA. Toward a social psychology of loneliness. Duck SW, Gilmour R. (eds.), Personal relationships in disorder. London: Academic Press; 1981.
- Mellody P. Facing codependence, What it is, Where it comes from, how it sabotages our lives. San Francisco; Harper; 1993. 21p.
- Palka S. Metodologia, badania, praktyka pedagogiczna. Gdańsk:GWP; 2006. 48 p.
- Kubinowski D. Jakościowe badania pedago-giczne. Filozofia-Metodyka-Ewaluacja. Lublin: Wyd. UMCS; 2011. (Polish)
- Sztumski J. Wstęp do metod i technik badań społecznych. Warszawa: Wyd. Naukowe PWN; 1984. 66 p. (Polish)
- Łobocki M. Wprowadzenie do metodologii badań pedagogicznych. Impuls, Kraków 2006. (Polish)
- Urbaniak-Zając D. Wywiad narracyjny na tle innych technik wywiadu. Edukacja. 1999; 4: 29-39. (Polish)
- Horwath J, Morrison T. Collaboration, integration and change in children's services: critical issues and key ingredients. Child Abuse Negl. 2007 Jan;31(1):55-69.
- James RK, Gilliland BE. Strategie interwencji kryzysowej. Pomoc psychologiczna poprze-dzająca terapię. Warszawa: Parpamedia; 2005. 524p. (Polish)
- Christ GH, Christ AE. Current approaches to helping children cope with a parent's terminal illness. Cancer J Clin. 2006 Jul-Aug;56(4):197-212.
- Krupa K. Gdy umiera jedno z rodziców. Graniewska D, Krupa K. Balcerzak-Paradowska J. (red.), Samotne matki, samotni ojcowie. O rodzinach niepełnych w Polsce. Warszawa: IWZZ; 1986, pp. 106-42. (Polsh)
- Tyszka Z, Wachowicz A. Podstawowe pojęcia i zagadnienia socjologii rodziny. Poznań: Wyd. Akademii Rolniczej im. Augusta Cieszkowskiego; 1997. 46p. (Polish)
- Wolchik SA, Tein JY, Sandler IN, Ayers TS. Stressors, quality of the child-caregiver relationship, and children's mental health problems after parental death: the mediating role of self-system beliefs. J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2006 Apr;34(2):221-38.
- Herbert M. Żałoba w rodzinie. Jak pomóc cierpiącym dzieciom i ich rodzinom. Gdańsk: GWP; 2005, pp. 35-49. (Polish)
- Kübler-Ross E. Rozmowy o śmierci i umieraniu. Poznań: Media Rodzina of Poznań, 1998, 24p. (Polish)
Publication order reference