You have read my story of witnessing the loss of Dad to a heart attack when I was four years old and then our family experiencing abuse by my first step-dad.
But my story is one of thousands who lose a parent to death in the early years. I wanted to understand more about the long-term effects of this so I poked around and identified the following findings:
One Result: Perceived Forfeited Childhood
“Among the findings: 73% believe their lives would be ‘much better’ if their parents hadn’t died young; 66% said that after their loss ‘they felt they weren’t a kid anymore.”
Cause of Grieving in Children Often Not Recognized or Treated
“Childhood grief is “one of society’s most chronically painful yet most underestimated phenomena,” says Comfort Zone founder Lynne Hughes, who lost both her parents before she was 13. She says she is worried that educators, doctors, and the clergy get little or no training to help them recognize signs of loneliness, isolation and depression in grieving children—and in adults who lost parents in childhood.”
“Students are often promoted from grade to grade, with new teachers never being informed that they’re grieving. Adults visit physicians, speak of depression, but are never asked if a childhood loss might be a factor.”
Scars a Child in Ways Often Hidden but Powerful
“[Grief…]as a child can be a trauma very hard to overcome, especially at a very young age. It has consequences that go beyond the death of the loved one. It changes the child, it changes its future, its personality, its beliefs, its fears, its cravings, the way the child perceives the world.”
“It is hard for others, who have not had a similar experience, to understand what this means. It is hard for the adults around the child to comprehend how it scars the child. This scar will last forever. It will be with the child as she grows, year after year, until adulthood and beyond into the old age and it will never disappear.”
Loss of Father Affects Intimacy
“The quality of a father-child relationship effects intimate relationships in adulthood February 19, 2007 Recent research at the University of Haifa School of Social Work revealed a connection between father-child relationship and the ability to achieve the interrelation intimacy in adulthood. The research, conducted by Dr. Nurit Nahmani, examined the quality of father-child relationships among three groups: orphans, children of divorced parents and children of intact families. 82% of the children of married parents reported being involved in an intimate relationship while only 62% of the orphans and 60% of the children of divorced parents did.”
Book Cover Image: http://www.amazon.com/Losing-Parent-Death-Early-Years/dp/0943657725
Have you lost a parent during childhood?
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