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Having a disabled or chronically ill child is difficult enough for parents to handle, but trying to raise other children as well offers its own challenges. As much as you love all of your children the same, the demands of caring for special needs often take the lead in your time and your energy, leaving very little left to give to your well children.

It is important to remember that your well children have needs too and that they desire you to care for them with the same level of attention that their special needs sibling receives. Letting your children know that you value their feelings and opinions about what your family is experiencing will help ease isolation that they may be feeling and will often also help ease the stress that you may be feeling.

  • Help your children to understand that although it is OK to get angry, jealous, and even upset with their disabled or ill sibling, it is what they do with those feelings that is important.
  • Encourage your children to express their feelings, even if you don't like what you're hearing. Children of disabled and ill siblings need to know that you, as their parent, understand why they may feel that way. They will also benefit greatly from hearing you talk about your feelings.
  • Help your children to express how they feel about their sibling’s disability or illness. It will help you as the parent to gain a better understanding of how much your other children know and feel about the challenges of the family, and this knowledge will give you more opportunities to help and care for them in the best way possible!
  • Give your children ways to express what they're feeling about their disabled or ill sibling such as writing in a journal, drawing pictures, or even writing stories about what they're feeling. The more ways they have to express their unique situation, the less frustrated they will be with it.
  • Reading books together about the particular disability or illness that your family is dealing with is another great way to encourage emotional expression.




©2017 Jonah & The Whale Foundation, Inc., Mars, PA, USA