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Sibling Bereavement: Helping Children Cope with Loss [Paperback]

Anne Farrant

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Book Description

1 Jun 1998 0304702056 978-0304702053
The effect of losing a brother or sister can result in severe emotional trauma for a child. The author of this text believes there is no "right" way for parents to behave towards surviving children - each family, each death, each survivor is different. The book allows victims of sibling bereavement to tell their own stories and share their own conclusions about the experience, seeking to provide enlightenment on this emotional subject. The author looks at the effect of sibling bereavement on surviving children, repercussions of lack of support, surviving children who act as comforters to their parents, guilt, projections of anger, unresolved conflicts, consequent family relationships, and children who cannot, or will not, mourn. Using real-life case studies to illustrate her points, Ann Farrant looks at the issues involved from her experience as a psychologist who has worked with disturbed children. She aims to show how it is possible to gain from, rather than be crippled by, the experience of losing a sibling.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sibling Bereavement: Helping Children Cope with Loss 6 July 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Ann Farrant tells the stories of adults who experienced the death of a brother or sister during childhood, in this much needed book. "When a brother or sister dies," she writes, "the children left behind are mourning not only the loss of that sibling, but also the loss of the shape of the family." Using case studies, she describes the aftermath of sibling death. For some, this meant being neglected by grieving parents; for others it meant being targeted for the parents' subsequent anger. Farrant makes it clear that the death itself is only the beginning, and documents the social and psychological damage resulting from the lost "shape of the family." Sadly, many of her subjects were telling their stories for the first time, never having had the support necessary, as children, to grieve the loss. Children, says Farrant, need to have the enormity of the loss acknowledged at the time.
The author looks at this problem from a historical perspective and weaves together the experiences of those she interviewed with sibling loss in the lives of well-known individuals such as J.M. Barrie, Charlotte Bronte, and Vincent Van Gogh. She touches on the role of literature in society's view of childhood loss, and cites recent works as evidence of encouraging changes in our understanding of how death affects children.
I liked this book and, as a clinician, find it a useful tool in working with adults who are just beginning to grieve an early loss. I recommend it for any adult who lost a brother or sister during childhood. Despite the serious subject matter, it is easy to read and leads the reader towards a hopeful future.
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