Chapter 2: All in the family

Do I know you? A shift in family roles

I’ve been there
Bev talks the care provided at home by the men in her family. (3:22)Video transcript

My sister has always been withdrawn. Well, after our father got sick, she started to take over. I felt like my own world had ground to a halt; I couldn’t do anything useful. My brother got totally absorbed in anything as long as it had nothing to do with Dad.

Existing family roles

As mentioned earlier in this module, “family” is whatever it means to you: a parent and kids; a group of siblings and their partners; multiple generations; kinship systems with members who aren’t related by blood or marriage; a group of friends. Every family has its own rules, roles, and ways of communicating.


Family member reactions

All existing roles can be thrown up in the air like a deck of cards when someone in the family gets a serious, life-limiting diagnosis. And what happens when the cards come down?


Family member interactions

Even if individual family members stick close to their roles, it is likely that the situation will intensify the ways they interact and force differences and issues to the surface.