Cover image for Helping children cope with the death of a parent : a guide for the first year
Helping children cope with the death of a parent : a guide for the first year
Lewis, Paddy Greenwall, 1945-
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Praeger, 2004.
Physical Description:
xiii, 165 pages ; 24 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BF723.G75 L49 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The mourning of a parent's death can take many years--for some it may take a lifetime. The first year of separation, however, is often the most difficult and heart wrenching. The first birthday, holiday, spring, summer, autumn, and winter spent without the loved one often revives or increases the pain. This unique guide is organized according to a timeline of a child's first year of mourning the loss of a parent. It is a warm, insightful, yet practical guide to help the families and community members surrounding a child who has suffered such a loss to anticipate and cope with the many difficulties that arise. Practical suggestions for providing comfort, information, and advice are provided for adults struggling to help children endure the trauma. A range of difficult situations that bereaved children encounter are identified, helping to prepare adults for a child's potential reactions and providing them with realistic coping strategies.

Lewis and Lippman, child psychologists who have provided therapy to children who have lost a parent, suggest answers to questions that these children frequently ask. They offer methods for dealing with particularly difficult times such as birthdays, and share practical advice for everyday situations and events. They begin with helping the child through anticipation of death, if it is expected, or through the initial shock of unexpected death. Poignant vignettes from the therapists' experience dealing with young and older children are included.

Author Notes

PADDY GREENWALL LEWIS is a clinical psychologist in private practice. Having spent 10 years as Chief Psychologist at the Siegel Institute at Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center, she is now in private practice in Chicago and Evanston. With her co-author, psychologist Jessica Lippman, she has organized and run innovative groups for motherless daughters. Lewis and Lippman regularly treat individuals who have lost a parent. Born and raised in South Africa, Lewis came to the United States at age 22 to to work as a counselor for Bruno Bettelheim at the University of Chicago Orthogenic School.

JESSICA G. LIPPMAN has been a clinical psychologist in private practice for 25 years. Based in Chicago, she is an instructor in Clinical Psychology and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University Medical School. She was Chief Psychologist at the Siegel Institute at Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center for three years. With her co-author, psychologist Lewis, she developed and has run groups for motherless daughters. Lippman and Lewis regularly treat individuals who have lost a parent. Town and Country magazine named Lippman to its list of outstanding psychotherapists in 1988.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Lewis and Lippman (psychotherapists) take on an important issue, but much is missing from this book on counseling children grieving a parent's death. Including compelling vignettes, this is essentially a practical guide for helping a child through the first year of grief and mourning. To manage challenging issues the authors offer pragmatic tips specific to the developmental stages of childhood, and strategies for dealing with difficult times (e.g., birthdays, anniversaries, the breaking of bad news). They point out that stories facilitate connections with the deceased parent, but absent is concrete advice about how to make stories effective. Also lacking is information about ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Elements that would otherwise have enhanced the book are a theoretical and evidence-based framework for interventions; a consideration of grief in minority populations; issues for children of non-traditional parents (e.g., gay, lesbian, or bisexual); and discussion of remedies for self-destructive behaviors in grief. Meaning Reconstruction & the Experience of Loss, ed. by Robert Neimeyer (CH, Oct'01) offers a more academic and theoretical perspective for renegotiating and integrating the relationship with the deceased, and it remains the resource of choice. ^BSumming Up: Optional. Comprehensive academic collections, all levels; professional and general collections. S. M. Valente University of Southern California

Table of Contents

The First Few Weeks and Months
Difficult Days
Do's and Don'ts Later
On Suicide and Unexpected Death
The First Anniversary Interviews
Consideration for Individual Therapy