Siblings Have Feelings Too 2015 Each time I spend time helping in Indonesia I gain remarkable insight. This time was no different. One of my take homes this time was never take for granted the vast number of resources, understanding & access to information that families have in the United States. During my workshop on Bali, “Siblings Have Feelings Too” the tears of one mother will always be a reminder to deliver information caringly. In the USA we take for granted that families know they will have challenges helping their son or daughter with special needs & that they also know they may need to find ways to support the typical siblings of their special needs brother or sister in the family. Ibu (mother) Panji, a mother in Bali, who tries everything she can to support her son with autism, came to realize that she also may need to find support for her other children who might have challenges due to the care of their brother or sister. A double sadness comes to mother Panji while attending my workshop. Her tears showed me that.
In the next couple of blogs I hope to share some meaningful information to help families and professionals working with families.
Why should parents be concerned about sibling’s feelings?
Siblings can develop feelings of jealousy, resentment, isolation, anxiety or fear because they have a brother or sister with a special needs and then entire family is affected
When parents are also worried about siblings they are more likely to feel stressed
When siblings’ feelings about their special needs brother or sister are not addressed they are more likely to develop anxieties, frustrations and guilt
WHAT MIGHT SIBLINGS BE THINKING?
Will I get to spend time alone with my mother or father?
Do my parents still care about me?
How will I explain my brother or sister to my friends?
Why doesn’t my brother/sister have to do chores and all the things I have to?
Why does my brother/sister act that way?
I am embarrassed when people stare at my sister/brother and my family
How am I going to play with my brother or sister?
It seems my brother/sister gets so much more attention
Will I catch what my brother or sister has?
SIBLINGS MAY FEEL (Confused, Lonely, Jealous, Guilty, Fearful, Responsible, Sad, Angry, Frustrated)
Stress from embarrassment
Stress from not being able to engage with their brother or sister
Stress from aggression from their sibling
Stress by their own perceived future responsibilities of taking care of their sibling
They can feel ignored or uninformed & so left out
They may feel left alone due to their sib’s medical treatments
They can feel resentment when family plans have to change because of sibling behaviors
They may feel they might get what their brother/sister has
They may feel fear wondering if their sibling is going to die
They might feel jealous due to all the extra time their sibling requires
They could feel guilty & think they did something to cause their sibling’s problems
They could feel guilty because they complain about their brother or sister and they know they are the one without the disability
They will feel sad because the future is so uncertain
They may feel embarrassed of their sibling’s looks, behaviors or inability to communicate
They will feel confused because they lack the information about the disability
IT IS SO, SO IMPORTANT FOR PARENTS TO ASK THEIR CHILDREN HOW THEY ARE FEELING OVER AND OVER AGAIN, THROUGH All Steps in THEIR GROWING UP SO FEELINGS CAN EB IDENTIFIED AND SOLUTIONS FOUND
More To Come!