Over the past thirty years, Dr. Irwin Sandler and Dr. Sharlene Wolchik, professors of psychology at Arizona State University, have conducted research on sources of resilience for children who have lost a mother or father. Parental loss is incredibly difficult and stressful, and some children experience long-term problems, such as depression or prolonged grief, after the death. But most children who lose a parent go on to lead healthy, successful lives. Psychologist Ann Masten refers to this resilience as “ordinary magic.”1
Sandler and Wolchik’s research uncovered resilient parenting strategies that can be used to promote children’s healthy development after such profound loss.2 Interventions that foster resilient parenting—like their Family Bereavement Program—can significantly improve outcomes for both bereaved children and a surviving parent.3 The program resulted in:
If you’re caring for a child who has lost a mother or father, you can practice resilient parenting by focusing on the five building blocks.
Learn more about these building blocks on the Option B Website.
Learning to grieve for losses great and small is a critical skill in a child’s healthy development.
Books can be an important resource to help explore grief responses.
Books can be an important resource for exploring grief responses.
Books can be important tools for grieving children to explore their emotions.
Books can be an important tool for exploring grief responses and emotions.