TIP of the WEEK: Support for Siblings
How do we support brothers and sisters of kids with PWS while keeping food secure, routines on track and resentment from brewing?
Siblings of kids with special needs have unique challenges. Some kids may feel angry at their sibling with special needs because they may feel that they are not as important, or that all the attention goes to their sibling. They may feel that many family plans get ruined or postponed because of their sibling’s behaviors. These are natural and expected feelings. As your children get older it will be easier to explain more complex concepts and with age often comes greater empathy and understanding. Some tips that may help:
- Schedule time to spend with your children alone, away from their sibling with PWS.
- Give them a space where they can keep their belongings safe. If something is broken or taken, ask your child with PWS to do something nice for their sibling to make up for their loss.
- If an event may be too stressful for your child with PWS, don’t bring them. Every member of the family does not need to attend every event.
- Allow your children to have their feelings. Let them know that it is ok to feel angry, embarrassed or afraid at times. Letting your children express these feelings will allow them to experience the good feelings too.
Ultimately the siblings of our kids with PWS will be the people responsible for their care and support in the later years. Studies have shown that siblings of children with special needs grow up to be adults who show greater flexibility, tolerance, compassion, sensitivity, and problem solving skills than those with typical siblings.