Close your eyes, breathe in deeply, now exhale slowly… That was easy, wasn’t it? Not for everyone…
Seek out respite opportunities, and do not feel guilty for taking advantage of them, along with other members of the family. Your spouse and your typically developing children may occasionally need to experience quality family time together without the distractions or disruptions that may ensue in the company of a child with a disability. Do not feel guilty over having family time without this child. You are not excluding him by doing so.
Make sure to give each of your typically developing children an opportunity to have one-on-one time with you as often as you realistically can. This will reassure them that their well being as your child is just as important to you. This does not have to be a formal occasion. It could be as simple and natural as accompanying you on a trip to the store, or driving them to a friend’s house, as long as it provides the two of you with an opportunity to talk in a meaningful and private way.
Do not commit your children to responsibilities for their sibling with a disability without discussing it with them first. Try to minimize the impact of their sibling’s disability on their normal everyday lives.
Have expectations for your typically developing children that are appropriate for their age, temperament and level of understanding. While they may not have a disability, they are still children. Expecting them to always be understanding of their sibling’s behavior, or always be the one to give in after a fight, is unfair and unrealistic. Give them permission to act their ages.
Set realistic expectations for the behavior of your child with a disability, such as giving them responsibility for minor household chores according to their ability, and make it clear that you expect him to meet those expectations. That will minimize resentment among his siblings.
Help your typically developing children find peers who can relate to what they are going through. Participation in a siblings support group can be particularly beneficial.
Address the concerns of your typically developing children about the future. Inform them of any major decisions involving your child with a disability, including any plans for a residential placement, or to send the child to a summer camp for special needs children. Listen to their suggestions and feelings, but make it clear that you as the parent will make the final decisions with the best interests of the whole family in mind.
Growing up in a family with a sibling who has a disability clearly presents many challenges to a typically developing child. Yet those children who can rise to that challenge often emerge with extraordinary qualities. The lessons they learn from that experience while growing up will enhance their sensitivity to the feelings of others, and give them a healthier perspective on what is truly important. This will surely enrich their outlook and relationships with others throughout their adult lives.
Tzivy Ross Reiter, LCSW, has written extensively about issues related to mental health and developmental disabilities. She is Assistant Director at Ohel Bais Ezra, whose services include Residential, Day Habilitation, Service Coordination, Residential Habilitation, Recreation and Respite Programs for Children and Adults with Disabilities. For more information, on Ohel Bais Ezra, please call 718-851-6300 or visit www.ohelfamily.org.
About the Author: Tzivy Ross Reiter, LCSW-R, is a Director at Ohel Bais Ezra and an advisor to Building Blocks Magazine. She has written extensively about issues related to developmental disabilities and mental health. She is also the author of “Briefcases & Baby Bottles: The Working Mother’s Guide to Nurturing a Jewish Home; Feldheim, 2012.”
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Even when our prayers are ignored and troubles confront us, Rabbi Shoff teaches that it is the same God who sent the difficulties as who answered our prayers before.
I’ve put together some of the most frequently asked questions regarding bullies, friendship and learning disabilities.
His parents make it clear that they feel the right thing is for Avi to visit his grandfather, but they leave it up to him.
Orna Porat was a former Christian and a member of the Hitler Youth.
There is a rich Jewish history in this part of the world. Now the hidden customs are being revealed, as many seek to reconnect with their roots.
There are times when a psychiatrist will over-medicate, which is why it’s important to find a psychiatrist whom you trust and feel comfortable with.
On November 22, 1963, Abraham Zapruder created one of the most famous, and valuable, pieces of film and became forever linked with one of the greatest American national tragedies when he stood with his camera on an elevated concrete abutment as President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade passed through Dealey Plaza in Dallas. Exhibited here is […]
“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength – carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” – Corrie ten Boom I’ve been thinking a lot about worrying. Anxiety is an issue close to my heart – […]
Upon meeting the Zionist delegation, General Wu, a recent convert to Christianity, said, “You are my spiritual brothers.
With the assistance of Mr. Tress, Private Moskowitz tried tirelessly to become an army chaplain.
Dr. Yael Respler is taking a well-deserved vacation this week and asked Eilon Even-Esh to share some thoughts with her readers in her stead.
There has been much made in the media about the stress on marriage and the high rates of divorce affecting couples who have a child with a developmental disability. Yet at the same time, counter studies have been published that refute many of these claims – reporting that this data has been exaggerated and that these families do not have a significantly higher divorce rate.
A friend of mine called me recently on her way home from a date. It was 11:30 p.m., and she was walking home from the subway, a 20-minute walk from her home. She said that she had a pleasant time, but was surprised when her date walked her to the subway at the end of the evening and said good night at 11 p.m. “Doesn’t he realize that at this late hour he should be escorting me home?” she cried.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/health/the-sibling-factor-meeting-your-other-children%e2%80%99s-needs/2008/06/02/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: