Some Thrive After Parents’ Death

May 07, 2008 11:52 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
by Sarah Amandolare
A new book finds that adults often make major life changes after the death of their parents, pursuing passions and interests with renewed vigor.

30-Second Summary

In “Death Benefits,” Jeanne Safer explores the positive implications for adults dealing with the death of their parents. According to Safer, many people reevaluate their priorities and put parental expectations behind them.

Some adult children get inspired to lose weight, improve their health by seeking help for depression or anxiety, try new things, and learn to make their own wellbeing a priority.

"Nothing else in adult life has so much unrecognized potential to help us become more fulfilled human beings—wiser, more mature, more open, less afraid,” Safer writes.

Until recently, there has been little attention paid to the “adult experience of parental loss,” reports the Los Angeles Times.

Author Debra Umberson, one of a handful of researchers to focus on the issue, feels that adult orphans have been ignored because parental loss is universal, “and therefore perceived as a normal process.”

Since the mid-1990s, a number of psychologists have encouraged adult children to maintain relationships with parents who’ve passed, saying that selectively accepting or declining parents’ opinions and advice can help adult children regain power.

However, dealing with the death of a parent is only one piece in a difficult puzzle facing many Baby Boomers who now find themselves a part of the “Sandwich Generation,” simultaneously supporting their children and their parents.

Headline Links: The ‘Death Benefits’ discussion

Related Topics: The ‘Sandwich Generation’ and coping with grief

Reference: “Death Benefits” by Jeanne Safer


Most Recent Beyond The Headlines