05-07-2021 | Original Paper
Parenting Surviving Children After the Death of a Child from Cancer: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Child and Family Studies | Uitgave 9/2021Log in om toegang te krijgen
The death of a child is a tragic, devastating event with enormous emotional and relational impact on the family unit. Parental changes are significant, encompassing the psychological, physical, spiritual, and interpersonal realms. Little bereavement research has focused on the crucial familial role of parenting or the relationship between bereaved parents and their surviving children after another child’s death. A noteworthy gap likewise exists in current literature regarding the experience of parenting within families who suffered the death of a child due to an extended, life-limiting illness such as cancer. This interpretative phenomenological analysis addresses the gap by exploring the lived experience of those who parent surviving children after their child’s cancer death. Seven mothers and four fathers (n = 11) across the United States participated in video or face-to-face semi-structured individual interviews. Parents had a range of 1–2 surviving children whose ages spanned 23 months-18 years (M = 8.27; SD = 5.07) at the time of their sibling’s death (M = 5.43 years earlier; SD = 3.17). Data analysis revealed two primary themes. “A New Mind” denotes bereaved parents’ new, contrasting mindsets regarding self-view, daily motivators, perceived locus of control, perspective, boundaries for children, direction of focus, and outside relationships. “Be Beside Me” highlights parents’ deep desire that others come alongside them by validating their emotions and experience and providing opportunities for family renewal. Clinicians working with bereaved families should have awareness of and consider parents’ changed perspectives, challenges, and supportive needs in order to deliver family-centered care and enrich existing services and support programs.