ERIC Number: ED204036
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Oct
Reference Count: 0
The Child's Concept of Death. Unit for Child Studies Selected Papers Number 8.
Adults must understand the development of the child's concept of death to comprehend children's questions about death and answer them appropriately. Children under 5 years of age view death as reversible and not final and may believe that the dead can breathe, feel, talk and continue to grow. While young children may believe in the reversibility of death, separation by death is a painful experience for them. At the age of 5, children become very curious about death and may believe that they and other children do not die. By 7 or 8 years of age, children begin to develop a realistic concept of death and to come to terms with their own mortality. At the concrete level of thinking, death may be personified. Children who have lost a parent through death may exhibit symptoms of bereavement which may be more intense if the child has been lied to and/or has not been permitted to mourn sufficiently. However, even under the best of conditions, bereaved children may commit anti-social acts, be depressed or become extremely good. Bereaved children should be helped to regain feelings of security through love and acceptance and may need the assistance of a substitute comforter. (Author/RH)
Descriptors: Concept Formation, Death, Emotional Experience, Emotional Problems, Foreign Countries, Parent Education, Parent Role, Postsecondary Education, Psychological Needs, Social Attitudes, Young Children
Unit for Child Studies, School of Education, University of NSW, P.O. Box 1, Kensington, NSW 2033, Australia ($2.00; payment should be made in Australian dollars).
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: New South Wales Univ., Kensington (Australia). School of Education.
Note: For other papers in this series, see PS 012 277-285.