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Childhood and Five Stages of Loss Essay

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Updated: Jun 27th, 2020

Background information

Grief is the basic response to any kind of losses including death. The experience of grieve does not necessarily require the validation of the loss by others. Instead, a loss is a psychosocial characteristic associated with person’s psychosocial experiences (Rando, 1988, p. 12).

Loss can be described as anything that can damage certain aspect of a person’s life (Weenolsen, 1988). On the other hand Worden (2002) defines grief as an event in an individual who has lost an essential relationship or an intimate connection to someone. These views can be aligned to the loss of either a mother or the father or both, which impact adversely on the individual’s life because this situation translates to loss of support and factors which emphasize the roles and position of parents (Despelder & Strickland, 2005).

Grieving can take different course depending on the roles of different individuals. This implies that grown-ups who lose their parents do not take a similar grieving course as a minor. In addition, cultural factors sustain a constant transformation across various societies on the way a person resolves or portrays the loss of someone they hold dear (Riley, n.d). In addition, Riley opines that both the developmental and attachment concepts are central to discussions pertaining to parental loss.

Davies (2004) argues that attachment denotes a special association between two individuals. Children attain the ability to mourn and grieve in their six months of age when the attachment course is reinforced (Bowlby, cited in archer, 1999; Worden, 2002).

Responses to grief and mourning begins in the initial phase of infancy when the child begins to appreciate their ability to impact on their surrounding, gradually acquiring differentiation and independence (Weenolsen, 1998). Rando (1988) supposes that infants will usually response to withdrawal of nurturance by mourning, and the parent, basically the mother, must actively participate in restoring the nurturing relationship thereby minimizing the disassociation. Thus, in support of the attachment theory it normally the separation which lead to a response (Riley, n.d). Further, he argues that an individual may not comprehend abandonment if they did not appreciate their ability to influence their social incidences to achieve own objectives. Seemingly, response to loss such as death by a child would be dependent on his/her level of the cognitive capacity (Riley, n.d).

The reaction to the loss of a parent is also a factor of what Bowlby denoted the loss of a child’s “secure base” to discover the social landscape (Davies, 2004). This interference, Riley argues, will inhibit a child environmental expedition and may adversely impact on the environmental association. As a form of mourning the loss of a parent, children tend to pin, seek yearn, and get preoccupied (Archer, 1999). He further supposes that this various emotional imbalances can culminate into depression, anxiety and sleep disorders.

Based on Worden (2002, p. 159), child or an adolescent loses a parent, s/he may not mourn appropriately and the child may succumb to depression and may find it difficult to sustain close relationship with other members of the society (Rando, 1998). In the adolescent stage, individuals presume their parents as the role model in mentoring their quest of finding their identity (Berger, 2001; Longress, 2000; Anderson et. al., 1999).

In your case, the alcoholic mother and abusive father did not provide a familial environment conducive for your development. The mother, who plays a significant role in mending any dissociation by the child, apparently did not take any active part in nurturing your relationship with her. She portrays a negative role model for you, which explains why the writer of lifespan Bowlby has a negative attitude towards life.

In addition, the violent father did not afford the writer the opportunity to learn useful skills and healthy experiences which s/he could find useful to overcome day to day challenges. If the closest people the writer could trust could not afford her the emotional support and encouragement at times of difficulty, what about the rest of the world? S/he develops low self-esteem because “nobody really cared.”This is why she could not risk marriage because the one between his mother and father was not desirable.

The five stages of loss according to Kubler-Ross (1969)

The process of grieving cannot be predetermined since it a personal experience. Also it is very useful to. There are five phases of grief namely, anger, denial, depression, bargaining, and acceptance. To begin with, I will look at denial. Based on Elisabeth kubler denial phase an individual refuse to come to terms with what actually happened, the loss. Also the person can resort to make believes to some level by restaging things they used to do with the loved one. For instance by making an extra cup of tea for the person who no longer exists in their lives, and making referrals of their beloved ones. Sometimes flashbacking on the conversations you used to share with the person as they are present.

Denial refers to a conscious or subconscious rejection of reality, facts, and information relevant to the respective event. Kubler supports that this is a defense mechanism which is typically a natural response. Certain individuals can become confined in this phase when confronting a traumatic transformation which could be overlooked.

Second stage of grief is the anger emotion which can express in various ways. Persons undergoing emotional disturbances can direct their anger to their selves, and/or other persons, particularly those they closely relate with. Appreciating this fact helps someone to understand the anger of someone who is emotionally upset when it is directed towards them.

Grief constitutes the third phase of grief. Usually this stage for those whose death is imminent can entail bargaining with the God that individual believes. An individual faced with trauma may opt to settle for a compromise. This can be clearly be depicted by expressions like “can we still be friends?” when a break up is imminent. However, bargaining seldom offers a long-lasting resolution particularly in case pertaining to issues of life and death.

The fourth stage of grief involves depression. Depression can literally be described as preparatory grieving. In other words depression can be termed as the dress rehearsal. However this phase of grief may take different meaning depending on the person who is affected. It is a stage which denotes emotional response to acceptance of the loss. This emotional attachment may express as sadness coupled with regrets, fear, uncertainty and many emotions depending on the person concerned. This phase indicate acceptance of the reality of the situation.

The last stage of grief concerns the acceptance of the loss. This phase also differs depending on the person’s circumstances. However, generally it implies that the person undergoing some emotional detachment and impartiality. This phase is often a characteristic of persons facing imminent death who may succumb to this phase relatively earlier than the persons they leave behind.


Converse to numerous ideologies, children are conscious when they lose a loved one and the experience that loss in as much the same way grown ups do. Just like the adults, children too, are often affecting by grief. However, because in children the stages of grief often tends to progress in a somewhat faster rate, some adults often make the grave mistake of protecting children from experiencing these phases of grief. However, it very much appropriate to be honest with children concerning one grief experience, and motivate them to project their emotions of hurt and sorrow.

The mourning course takes time and it ought not to be quickened. The duration of the grieving process is varied and depends on the individual and the circumstances.

Reference List

Archer, J., 1999, The Nature of Grief; The Evolution and Psychology of Reactions to Loss. New York: Routledge.

Anderson, R. E. Carter, I., & Lowe, G.R., 1999. Human Behavior in the Social. New York: Guilford Press.

Berger, E., 2001, The Developing Person Through the Life Span. New York: Worth Publishers.

Davies, D. 2004, Child Development; A Practitioners Guide. 2nd Edition. New York: Guilford Press.

Despelder, L. A., & Strickland, A. L., 2005, The Last Dance; Encountering Death and Dying. 7th Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Kübler-Ross, E., 1969, The Grief Cycle model first published in On Death & Dying, Interpretation by Alan Chapman 2006-2009. London: Prentice Hall

Longress, J. E., 2000, Human Behavior in the Social Environment. 3rd Edition. New York: Peacock Inc.

Rando, T. A. 1988, Grieving: How to Go on Living When Someone You Love Dies. Toronto: Lexington Books.

Riley, L. J., n. d. Grief and loss – children losing parents. [Online]. Web.

Weenolsen, P., 1988, Transcendence of Loss over the Life Span. New York: Book Crafters.

Williams, T., 2000, Losing tom – a documentary film; death, dying and grieving. London: Sage.

Worden, J. W., 2002, Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy. 3rd Edition. New York: Springer Publishing Company.

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