As mothers-in-law and sons-in-law are likely to be of approximately the same age the avoidance practice possibly serves to circumvent potential illicit relationships. Prior to this, brothers and sisters play together freely.
Both these avoidance relationships have their grounding in the Australian Aboriginal kinship system, and so are ways of avoiding incest in small bands of closely related people.
Aboriginal avoidance practices refers to those relationships in traditional Aboriginal society where certain people are required to avoid others in their family or clan.
These customs are still active in many parts of Australia, to a greater or lesser extent. There are also strong protocols around avoiding, or averting, eye contact, as well as around speaking the name of the dead.
Touch is particularly important when women tell jokes or discuss matters of a sexual nature.In these circumstances behavior such as "nipple tweaking" and "groin grabbing" are seen as signs of friendship.—and also because it is considered too painful for the grieving family.Today the practice continues in many communities, but has also come to encompass avoiding the publication or dissemination of photography or film footage of the deceased person as well.I slowly began to realize that there wasn't something wrong with the men--there was something wrong with the therapy.This series of booklets will take you on a journey that parallels my own struggle in finding out what does and doesn't help men in healing their grief.This first booklet defines the problem and surveys the ground of grief.The second booklet will discuss gender differences in grieving and self-help ideas for men who are working with their grief. We are familiar with our responses to gain and celebration, and grief is the other side of that coin.The reaction of the female therapists to male clients was somewhat stronger than my own, with some staff members even refusing to work with men.Various criticisms were heard about the way men grieved or didn't grieve.Exotic and rare names have therefore become very common, particularly in Central Australia and desert communities, to deal with this new challenge.As a beginning grief therapist in the late 1970's I can remember the difference I felt when a new client I would receive was a man or a woman.