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2000 Jordan Institute
for Families

Vol. 2, No. 4
July 1997

Reactions to the Five Stages of Grief

STAGE
CHILD'S BEHAVIOR
PARENT REACTIONS
Shock/denial

indifference

positive initial adjustment to the new living environment

lacks commitment or conviction to activities

denies the loss

emotional numbness

robot-like, lacks emotion

compliance

denies there is any problem

avoidance

Anger

aggressive expression of feelings

aggressive behavior toward others

lies, steals, or breaks toys

oppositional

eating or sleeping disorders

uncooperative behavior

oppositional

demanding

blaming

Bargaining

eager to please

ritualized behaviors

negotiate agreements

moralistic

improved compliance

makes broad promises

Depression

social and emotional withdrawal

increased crying

increased anxiety

lack of energy

unable to communicate

regressive behaviors

forgets appointments

exhibits little initiative

loss of hope about child returning home

Resolution

identifies with the new family

stronger attachments to new family

emotional distress decreases

exhibits goal-directed behavior

decreased emotional reactions to stressful situations

gets on with his or her life

unresponsive to social worker

stops visiting the children

may accept agency pursuit of permanent custody

Source

Caye, J. (1996). Effects of separation and loss on attachment. Chapel Hill: School of Social Work, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

1997 Jordan Institute for Families