Children's Understanding of Death

From Biological to Religious Conceptions

by Victoria Talwar, Paul L. Harris, Michael Schleifer

In order to understand how adults deal with children's questions about death, we must examine how children understand death, as well as the broader society's conceptions of death, the tensions between biological and supernatural views of death and theories on how children should be taught about death. This collection of essays comprehensively examines children's ideas about death, both biological and religious. Written by specialists from developmental psychology, pediatrics, philosophy, anthropology and legal studies, it offers a truly interdisciplinary approach to the topic. The volume examines different conceptions of death and their impact on children's cognitive and emotional development and will be useful for courses in developmental psychology, clinical psychology and certain education courses, as well as philosophy classes - especially in ethics and epistemology. This collection will be of particular interest to researchers and practitioners in psychology, medical workers and educators - both parents and teachers.

  • Cambridge University Press; April 2011
  • ISBN: 9781139119238
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure ePub format
  • Title: Children's Understanding of Death
  • Author: Victoria Talwar (ed.); Paul L. Harris (ed.); Michael Schleifer (ed.)
  • Imprint: Cambridge University Press

In The Press

"Children’s understanding of death is a fascinating topic, but difficult to study because of its troubling and taboo nature. This edited collection is the first of its kind, and it’s going to have a big impact. The essays are thoughtful, provocative, and well-written. They explore a variety of issues, including afterlife beliefs in other cultures, the relationship between children’s scientific and religious understanding, philosophical and legal issues, and the moving question of how to talk about death with children – including with those who are themselves dying. This is valuable reading for developmental psychologists, educators, and parents.”
– Paul Bloom, Yale University