≡ Menu
Sign-up to receive my monthly blog updates and receive this free report:
Are you in Burnout? 10 Important Questions and Answers

How do children respond to the death of a parent? (Counselling Articles)

Children who have a parent die suddenly — whether by accident,  natural causes, or suicide — and children whose parent’s death is more anticipated — such as from a terminal disease, regardless of the cause of death — will all experience grief and loss.

Early reactions to the death may be greater for sudden death than anticipated death because the shock associated with sudden death is greater. However, research has shown that regardless of how a parent dies, over time the differences between how children react, and grieve, dissipates.

Without distinguishing between sudden death and anticipated death, research has found the following:

  • On the night the children were told about the death of their parent, 91 percent cried.
  • At six weeks following the death of a parent, adolescents reported crying and feeling sad, some sleep disturbances, and impaired school performance.
  • Four months after the death, 33 percent reported frequent crying.
  • After one year, only 13 percent cried regularly.
  • Thirteen months following the death of a parent, most adolescents reported lower levels of distress.

While the death of a parent is consistently rated as one of the most stressful events that a child can experience, it is important to understand that the child’s age and experience will affect his or her ability to cope with the death. Counselling for the loss of a parent may help the child and surviving parent better understand how the loss may have long-term effects.

Read more about How does the sudden death of a parent affect a child’s mental health? and How does the anticipated death of a parent affect a child’s mental health?

Liked what you read? Sign-up to receive my free monthly blog updates straight to your in-box.

Dr. Patricia Turner, Registered Psychologist, Calgary, Alberta

Sign-up to receive my monthly blog updates and receive this free report:
Are you in Burnout? 10 Important Questions and Answers
{ 0 comments… add one }
Opt In Image
Sign-up to receive my monthly blog updates and receive this free report:
Are you in Burnout? 10 Important Questions and Answers