The importance for children and young people to be able to communicate openly about the death of a parent is evident from the literature. This small-scale investigation uses a case-study approach to illustrate the impact on siblings of the sudden death of a father. The abundance of comments from the young people in the study such as “talking is the only thing that helps” and “everybody has to get it out” emphasise the important role of communication within the family. Children tend to take their emotional cues from other family members and, paradoxically, restrict communication of their own grief in an attempt to protect others. Even if painful in the short term, certain lines of communication may need to be established if family members are to be able to support each other in dealing with the distressing experience of the death in a healthy manner. The study suggests that those who work with young people in such circumstances should take cognisance of these issues.
Leitch, R., Lavery, M., Kilpatrick, R., & McMahon, J. (1996). The effects of sudden paternal death on young people and their family relationships: some implications for practice. Child Care in Practice, 2(3), 15-27. https://doi.org/10.1080/13575279608415286