Children's emerging understanding of death


Children’s understanding of death has been a topic of interest to researchers investigating the development of children’s thinking and clinicians focusing on how children cope with the death of a loved one. Traditionally, researchers in cognitive development have studied death from a biological perspective. Current research suggests that exploring religious and spiritual conceptualizations might enrich our understanding of how children come to think about death. In this article, we review different methodological approaches that suggest that children form their understanding of death by engaging in conversations with and asking questions of family members, consuming cultural products, and participating in cultural rituals. We provide examples of how children combine different belief systems to form their understanding of death. We conclude by discussing recent research on how deathrelated socialization might be related to coping and bereavement after the death of a loved one.

Child Development Perspectives, 14(1), 55-60
David Menendez
David Menendez
Assistant Professor

My research interests include cognitive development, diagrams, and STEM education