Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.
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.
Over the course of the next couple of weeks we were planning our daily schedule by the minute. At any second we would have to change our plans. It was understood by everyone on the bus that this was not the normal agenda for the summer, but we still managed to have a ridiculous amount […]
Avromi often put other people’s interests before his own: he would not defend people whom he believed were guilty (even if they were willing to pay him a lot of money).
How can I help my wife learn to say “no,” and understand that her first priority must be her husband and family?
My eyes skimmed an article on page 1A. I was flabbergasted. I read the title again. Could it be? It had good news for the Miami Jewish community.
Students in early childhood, elementary, and middle school were treated to an array of hands-on projects to create sukkah decorations such as wind chimes, velvet posters, sand art, paper chains, and more.
Each student received a brachah and a handshake.
It is important for a therapist to focus on a person’s strengths as a way of overcoming his or her difficulties.
Sadly, there are mothers who, due to severe depression are unable or unwilling to prepare nourishing food for their children.
Michal had never been away from home. And now, she was going so far away, for so long – an entire year!
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: