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Needs of grieving children in primary school

Irena Podjed (2017) Needs of grieving children in primary school. MSc thesis.

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    Loss and death deeply mark the life of a child, especially if loved one died. Death of a close friend or a family member is for a child a stressful and also a traumatic event. When a family member dies, children react differently from adults. On the other hand, we should to know the process of grieving and the factors which affect on this process. Understanding the aspects mentioned above, it is easier for the reader to comprehend the needs of a grieving child. This paper is based on theories of motivation (Maslow, Glasser and Frankl) and on a research (Child Bereavement Study), which stresses main needs of grieving children and adolescents (appropriate information, participating in families events, remembering, listening and help with heavy sensations, especially feelings of fear and guilt …) . There are many ways to help a grieving child through the grieving process. The child can be assisted by parents as well as professional staff at school and experts from other institution. The empirical part deals with the needs of grieving children. In this research I asked 14 grieving children and adolescents, attending primary school in Slovenia. I was mainly interested in the needs of bereaved children at home, in school and in relation with their peers. I was also trying to learn how the needs established in my findings differ from the needs listed in the academic literature, and to learn, whether young people grieve in different ways with respect to their gender and age. According to my findings, bereaved children have the biggest needs in their home environment – it is the place, where their basic psychological needs should be met and where they are in need of talking openly to other persons. Also the importance of providing them with honest answers and information is to be emphasized. Grieving children especially need love from their parents as well as their closeness and are especially in need of consolation and understanding. Grieving children and adolescents often feel the need to talk about the deceased, to visit the deceased person's grave and to carry on with their daily routines and participate in fun activities. What grieving children and adolescents require from their peers is respect, understanding and acceptance, as well as their presence without being mocked at. In classes these children have stressed the need for more frequent recesses and the possibility to have their own personal space. In school environment they mostly need understanding, compassion and the need to be treated equally. Furthermore, it is important for them to get the support and the help they need in the field of education. There are differences in terms of grieving regarding the gender – in school environment girls have more needs than boys. Grieving children and adolescents have different needs in their relationship with peers, regarding their age. The needs established in this research are not much different from the needs listed in the academic literature. In certain areas of needs of bereaved children and adolescents there are not enough data that could confirm that the needs established in my research are in accordance with those in academic literature. However, this can be confirmed for the needs in the area of including the grieving children and adolescents into happening, providing them with the appropriate information, encouraging them to take part in their daily activities, helping them through the grieving process and talking to them about the deceased.

    Item Type: Thesis (MSc thesis)
    Keywords: loss, death, grieving, needs, children
    Number of Pages: 115
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    izr. prof. dr. Janez JermanMentor
    Link to COBISS: http://www.cobiss.si/scripts/cobiss?command=search&base=50126&select=(ID=11613513)
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 4530
    Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2017 14:39
    Last Modified: 10 Jul 2017 14:39
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/4530

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