Parents’ Discussions of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Death With Young Children

Chang Su-Russell, Csilla Greiner, Ashley Ermer, Luke T. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Death and loss are often uncomfortable topics for adults to discuss with young children. Disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, however, made the avoidance of these topics nearly impossible. The current study explored how 20 parents engaged with their young children (ages 3–6) in discussions about death, dying, and loss as they jointly experienced this global crisis. Interviews were conducted both prepandemic (Summer/Fall 2019) and a year later, at the early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, before vaccines were approved (Summer 2020). Results suggest parents largely sought to balance sheltering children from stress and socializing them with socioemotional competencies. The pandemic context, however, brought parents a sense of urgency to scaffold their children’s ability to remain resilient after experiencing losses. Practical implications are discussed regarding how family nurses and other practitioners can provide support to families of young children during the COVID-19 pandemic and potential future global crises.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-135
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Family Nursing
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2023

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • death and loss
  • resilience and resources
  • young children

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