Sei sulla pagina 1di 6

Adolescentsiblingshavereceivedconsiderablylessattentioninresearch(Balk,2009),

yetteensareknowntocontemplatetheirowndeathsandreacttoissuesofdeathin
developmentallyuniqueways(Shipkey,2008).Duringatimewhentheyareattempting
todefinethemselvesandbecomemoreautonomous,adolescentsmayfindthistask
increasinglydifficultfollowingthedeathofasibling.Asaresult,teenagersmayremain
inthehome,withdrawfromsocialsituations,andabstainfromtheusualexperimentation
thatmarksadolescenceandservestohelpformacohesiveandmatureidentity.

Theymayfeelforgottenbyparentswhofocusmoreonthelostchildandnotthesurvivor
(Shipkey,2008);theymayalsofeelcaughtbetweentheirowndevelopmentalneedsand
concernfortheirparents(Fanos&Nickerson,1991).

Itisimportanttonotethatduringadolescence,teenagersdeveloptheabilitytoformulate
abstractthought,inwhatPiagetdefinedasformaloperations(Batten&Oltjenbruns,
1999).Withinabstractthought,teenscanenacthypotheticodeductivereasoning,a
processbywhichtheycanponderaspectsofexperiencestheyhaveneverencountered,
suchasdeath.

Shipkeyconcludesthatadolescentsattempttoreconstructrealitythroughcontinuing
bonds(Shipkey,2008,p.89),aprocesswhichincludesamultistageprocessthat
commenceswithhearingthenewsofthedeathandendswithreconstructingrealitywith
anunderstandingofoneslifeaspermanentlychangedyetpreservingofthesiblingbond.

whenthecauseofdeathissuicide,homicide,orSuddenInfantDeathSyndrome,
adolescentsappeartobemoreatriskforpsychologicalproblems,particularlydepression,
PostTraumaticStressDisorder(PTSD),increasedbehavioralproblems,avoidance,and
anxiety(Shipkey,2008).Shipkeyscontributionprovidesamorecontemporary
understandingofthewaysadolescentsmakemeaningfromthedeathsoftheirsiblings
andhowtheyattempttoreconstructtheirnewexistencesthereafter.

Teenagersmayhidetheirgriefinanefforttotakecareoftheirparents(Shipkey,2008,p.
104).Teensdisclosedthatparentsareinshockthemselvesandadolescentsmaymove
intoastateofnumbnesstoprotecttheirparents(Shipkey,2008).Adolescentsmaygrieve
insilence.Infact,thosewhopreviouslyenjoyedacloserelationshipwiththeirparents
mayfeelevenmorereluctanttodiscusstheirfeelingsregardingtheirsiblingsdeath,
againoutofloyaltytoandprotectionofagrievingmotherorfather(Balmer,1991).They
mayfeelthattheirlossisjustassignificant,butwasnotrecognizedassuch,whichleads
themtofeellikeforgottenmourners:

Yeah,Ididfeellikethat(forgottenmourner)inthebeginning,foralongtime,because
everyonewasgivingsupportformyparentsandtellingthemhowawfulitmustbetolose
achild.AtfirstmyfamilyonlyfocusedonmyparentsandIhidmyfeelingsforawhile.
ButafterawhileIbrokedown.(Shipkey,2008,p.73).
Anothersiblingspokeofthispredicamentasfollows:

Weareonlysiblings.Ithinkthatishowwefeel,becauseourparentsarereallysuffering.
Iunderstandtheirdreadfulsituation,becausetheyhavelosttheirchild.ButIhavelost
mybrother...(Dyregrov&Dyregrov,2005,p.719).

Somesiblingsfeelasiftheirparentsaretoopreoccupiedwiththelossoftheirbrotheror
sistertoattendtotheneedofthesurvivingchild:Ilostmyparents,too,afterthedeath
ofmysibling(Shipkey,2008,p.106).Thedeathofasiblingappearstocontinuously
andnegativelyimpactanadolescentoverthecourseoftheirlives(Martinson&Campos,
1991).

PsychologicalGriefReactionsofAdolescentsFollowingSiblingDeath:

Fearofdyingandfearofdyingatthesameageasonessibling,fearofintimacy,feeling
lonely,believingthatonesparentswillnevergetoverthedeath,decreasedsenseofself
worth

However,itremainsclearthatsiblingsappeartosufferinsilencewhiletheadultsintheir
livesgrieveopenlyandoftenwithmoresupport.Next,thissectionexploresthe
behavioralmanifestationsofadolescentsiblingbereavement.

Hogan(1987)positsfromherfindingsthatadolescentsiblingsworrythatpeersare
watchingthemtoseewhethertheywillcryorseemstrangeinclass.Theyreport
difficultyestablishingrelationshipswithchildrentheirage.Asaresultoftheirisolation,
adolescentsmayfeelasifnooneunderstandstheirgrief,whichcausesfurtherfeelingsof
alienation(Shipkey,2008)andnotknowingwhototurnto:Iprettymuchfeltleft
out...nooneunderstood;Ireallywantedtotalkaboutmysibling,butnooneexpects
youto.Theymayalsoattempttoparentyoungersiblingswhilemaintainingemotional
supportforgrievingparents,allthetimeshieldingtheirownpain.

Inadditiontothepsychologicalandbehavioralsymptomsexhibitedbyteensfollowing
thedeathofasibling,thereissomeevidencefromempiricalstudiesindicatingthatbereft
adolescentsiblingsexperiencenumerousphysiologicalsymptoms.Theseincludechange
ineatinghabits,insomniaandsleepdisturbances,beingsickmoreoftenthanpeers,
bodilyconcerns,lossofenergy,andsomaticcomplaints.Physiologicalreactionsto
bereavementareimportanttoidentifyasbodyimagebecomesanincreasingareaof
concernduringadolescenceandteenscanbecomeatriskforeatingdisorders.

PathwaysofCoping/IdentityFormationandHallmarksofClassicalIdentityTheory

Hyper-Mature

Termusedtoindicatethatadolescentsmoralvaluesaremostimpactedbysiblingdeath
comparedwithpeerswhohaveneverexperiencedthelossofabrotherorsister.Parents
whoareentrenchedingriefmaybeunabletosupportteenagerswhoareacutelyawareof
theirparentssuffering.Asaresult,parentsmayplaceincreasedresponsibilityonhyper
maturesiblings,causingteenagerstogrowupfaster,redefiningtheirrolesand
relationshipsbothinandoutsidethehome,andleadingtoasenseofpremature
individuationand/orisolation.

IfeltthatifIbrought[mysiblingsdeath]uptomyMomorstepfatherIwasgoingto
hurtthem.Thatitwouldhurtmemoreaswell,andIdidittoprotectmyself

Suchteenagersmayturntheirtroublesinward,feelingresponsibleforcaringfortheir
parents,yetalsoanincreasedsenseofresentmentandanger(Fanos&Nickerson,1991).
Specifically,astheadolescentminddevelopsinlinewithformaloperations,theteenager
beginstoask,Whydidthishappen?andWhydidthishappentome?

ThecrisisofhypermaturityhasbeensummarizedbyRosen(1991),whohasstatedthat
whileadolescentsdevelopmentallymaywishtoindividuatefromtheirfamiliestheymay
beunabletodosoafterabrotherorsisterhaspassedaway.Ultimately,accordingto
Rosen,bereftadolescentsiblingsmayremainhousebound,withdrawfrompeers,and
avoidtheexperimentationthatisdevelopmentallynecessarytoindividuateinto
adulthood.Lifegoalsandlimittestingmaybeabandonedintheserviceoftheparent.
Davies(personalcommunication,February25,2010)hasstatedthatsurvivingchildren
arenotidentifiedasneedingassistancebyeducationalprovidersbecausetheyappear
selfsufficientandcompetent,causingtheirparentsandteacherspride.However,inside,
thechildmaybethinkingpainfulthoughts,suchas,Ihurtinside!,Idont
understand!,andImnotenough!Often,hypermaturechildrenfeelthepressureto
assumetheidentityoftheirfallensibling(See:theReplicatingTeen).
If I could get an email from myself ten
years from now, what advice might it
have?
Is this relationship bringing out the
best in me?
Do I make excuses for or justify my
partners behavior towards me?
What have I learned from this
relationship?
What havent I learned from this
relationship?
Do I think I can love this person in the
way they deserve to be loved?
If this is all there is, will it be enough?
If today was my last would I regret
ending or not having ended the
relationship more?
Am in love with this person, or the
person I wish they were? (aka The
Imaginary Boyfriend)?
Do we have similar goals for the future?
Are you compromising who you are to stay in this
relationship?
Are you staying in the relationship because of the
time and energy you have invested?

Are there trust issues between you two?

Here is perhaps the greatest piece of advice I can


give you on the subject: pray. If you still dont know,
pray harder still. The Holy Spirit has always been
faithful to guide me in and out of relationships.
Usually Id guide myself into a relationship knowing it
was not a good idea and the Holy Spirit would
faithfully remind me that I needed to get out. If you
dont have a good feeling about your relationship,
there is probably a good reason. You need to get to
the bottom of why if there is something wrong in
your relationship. - See more at:
http://preengaged.com/10-questions-to-consider-if-
you-should-break-up-breaking-up-is-hard-to-do-part-
1/#sthash.u4Pd6fbp.dpuf