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Title: An investigation of how children aged 0-7 respond to the death of a parent : perceptions of parents and educators
Author: Hudson, Ruth
ISNI:       0000 0004 9357 3229
Awarding Body: Staffordshire University
Current Institution: Staffordshire University
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis investigates parent and educator experiences of supporting a child, aged 0-7 years old, bereaved of one of their parents and how parents and educators seek and gain practical and educational support throughout the grieving process over several years. Previous research with older children has highlighted the mental health and well-being of effected children following a parent or sibling bereavement. A review of the literature draws upon such studies examining the impact of home life and educational experiences and the potential consequences of omitting younger children from bereavement research and the importance of extending death education in training educators. A case study approach has been adopted across 6 case studies and includes interviews of the surviving parent, educator and in some instances senior school staff, counsellors, and extended family members. An interpretivist approach has been applied to capture the lived experiences of participants to understand their death event and the subsequent impact and interactions between those involved. Analysis of the data revealed the importance and priority of happiness and well-being before progress in education. Surprisingly, parents spoke without hesitation about their life pre- and post-bereavement and their continued efforts to ensure their children felt loved and secure following bereavement. Likewise, educators shared their dedication in providing a learning environment that supported attachment relationships and promotion of well-being to facilitate positive educational outcomes. All children, as confirmed by their families and educators, progressed well educationally with some exceeding expected levels of achievement. This thesis argues that whilst children appear to progress well in their education, as children grow cognitively and re-grieve the death event, families and education establishments need to attend to re-occurring bereavement behaviours over time to avoid the potential to escalate risky behaviours in 4 adolescents. The value of attachment teaching through emotion coaching techniques and raising death education awareness is critical in supporting bereaved children. An adaptation model for children builds on theoretical perspectives and provides a model that can be applied to younger children. The model, based on the research data, presents indicators of need, coping and adaptation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available