The importance of positive parenting as the resource for parentally bereaved children and its use as the foundation for a family bereavement program

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Carroll, Anthony
Issue Date
BA Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
This study set out to identify the parental experience and the social support that was offered for a distinct group of parentally bereaved adolescents aged 12-17 in the 1980s working in Ireland. The study will then compare their experience to the perceived experience their children might enjoy should they too suffer a parental bereavement and question if there are any perceived long-term benefits for a formal family bereavement program that hast positive parenting at the heart of its foundation. The sample consisted of eight children from three distinct families who are now adults and for all but one, all parents. The supports experienced by the participants, both formal and informal, were examined with specific emphasis on the positive parental experience as a resource. The method employed to conduct this research used semi-structured interviews which allowed for the collection of data to be analysed labelled and coded into themes. None reported enjoying either formal or informal support or a particularly positive parental experience. The results indicated that the children were fundamentally affected by the loss of their parent and as a result of this went on to suffer life-long self-esteem issues and that the participants were ill prepared and unsupported both by their remaining parent and by their wider family and society as a whole, to navigate the devastating effects of the death of their parent. Author keywords: Positive parenting, bereaved children, parentally bereaved children