Family – Each individual’s grief is unique and may not be in harmony with the other family members’ ways of grieving.

This means that family traditions which previously guided behaviour may be disrupted such that family members are left to fend for themselves. Parents may become overprotective or less conscious of the needs of the surviving children. Families eventually begin to resume normal activities and even see a glimmer of hope for their future.

Parental Bereavement – Mothers and fathers grieve differently. Usually mothers first exhibit more of the symptoms of grief and depression while fathers appear to be dealing with the daily routines of life. Husbands may resent their wives’ helplessness while wives may resent their husbands’ apparent coping. It is important for the social worker to know that once the wife has coped with her grief the husband may begin to display grieving behaviours which had been suppressed.

Siblings – brothers and sisters experience the personal loss of a companion and an empathic ally within the family situation. There may be a rapid shift in expectations for the surviving children. New behaviours, attitudes and competencies will be required. Sometime these new stresses are expressed through socially unacceptable behaviour. Also, siblings often suppress their feelings of loss because they believe it is too painful for the parents to deal with.