(Written by Orla Kelly) In this article I am going to address how you as a parent can best support siblings of special needs kids. Very often all the attention is on a special needs child leaving siblings intentionally or unintentionally feeling left out as they are given considerably less attention and parental time than the special needs child.
This can give rise to family disharmony and cause emotional upset to sibling children, so it is vital that parents do not underestimate the needs of sibling children and work through any problems as a unified family.
In this article I will discuss
- What it is like to have a special needs sister or brother
- What parents can do to build a stronger relationship with the sibling child
- How to help siblings understand the needs of their special needs sister or brother
For sibling children, it may seem like their once close relationship with their parents is compromised and diminished. They witness their special needs brother or sister getting more attention (even when they do something wrong), possibly less discipline and what appears to be preferential treatment.
This can make them to feel jealous of their special needs sibling and neglected by their parents. They may feel confused at the level of intensity of these feelings and disappointed but yet not really understand their feelings.
As a parent, you need to allocate some quality time to spend alone with the sibling child, helping with school work, taking them to social events and doing activities with them that they enjoy.
Be open with your child about their special-needs sibling and allow for open expression where they can discuss their feelings and have their say. To teach them empathy towards their brother or sister, include them in activities around the care of the special needs child, without overwhelming them of course and without making them feel it is their responsibility.
The care of the special needs kids ultimately falls on parents and as sibling children grow and mature they should take on a greater level of responsibility in the care of their special sibling once parents are sensitive to their needs while growing up.
It is important for siblings of special needs kids to feel their parents can celebrate their successes with them just as parents acknowledge and celebrate every achievement and advance made by a special needs child. This will give a very clear signal to sibling children that they have every right to be successful.
Give the sibling child the recognition that they deserve on an ongoing basis. Hugs, tears, kisses and most importantly, the gift of simply being there for them.
Siblings need to have a childhood and to do fun things with their own friends. It may be difficult for parents to find time, but when you see things from a sibling’s perspective, you will understand how vital it is that they do not feel like they are second best in your eyes.
* The Article ‘How To Best Support Siblings Of Special Needs Kids’ has been published on Ezinearticles.
I am a special needs parenting coach and worked successfully in private practice for more years than I would like to admit! I am now a full time mother to 2 lively kids who put me through a physical and mental workout each day! Writing and learning is a new passion of mine.
What time I have left out of being on call 24 hours a day is spent on special needs, an area close to my heart! If you would like more about being the best parent you can be to your special needs child, download my free guide at http://www.parenting4specialneeds.com