Can I level with you? Parenting is filled with worries. I worry about my kids and what kind of adults they will turn out to be. Don’t you? I also worry about Sibling Rivalry. Do you deal with that?
This summer has been filled with Anxiety and Worry. I have 2 little blessings and raising them is a Joy in my life, but it is also challenging.
My youngest blessing has special needs and we have been on a wild roller coaster ride with her. My oldest blessing has shown a rebellious side I never saw coming.
Can I say that again?
I never saw it coming from my kids! I envisioned a wonderful life full of love and cuddles. Playing and talking and the family life I never had. I wanted that for my kids.
When the doctor first mentioned my youngest might have special needs I was not surprised.
Raising a Child with Special Needs is a Blessing
I am blessed to be her mom. I am also exhausted… She is a wonderful young lady with a big heart that loves fiercely. To know my Special Blessing is to love her.
Raising her requires time and attention. I can never let my guard down or someone will get hurt. Something will get broken. We are still learning so much about how her brain processes things and I get it wrong often.
Being the Sibling of a Special Needs child is demanding
My oldest blessing is wise beyond her years. She is responsible and always has a helpful attitude; creative and wonderful and I love her beyond words.
She has begun to show a disrespectful attitude, wild mood swings and desire to run away from home.
I didn’t know what to do or how to cope with this new Parenting Challenge.
I always turn to the bible as I try to take a Biblical Parenting approach. What I found were examples not to follow. Sibling Rivalry begins when parents focused on one child to the exclusion of the others.
Sibling Rivalry in the Bible
- Isaac & Ishmael (Genesis 12-21)
- Jacob & Esau (Genesis 25:21-26)
- Joseph and his brothers (Genesis 37-50)
And that is all in the first book!
What I see in these instances of Sibling Rivalry is that one child’s needs are above the other. I see myself doing this with our children. My youngest blessing had Needs that demand more time, special care and precautions.
Sibling Rivalry feels inevitable when Special Needs are in play
This summer I began researching other parents and authorities on childhood behavior.
I was in for another shock. There is a term “Peer Orientation” or “Peer to Peer” that I’d never heard of. It seems to have been THE conversation for a couple of decades.
Peer orientation happens:
- When Kids stop looking to adults for guidance.
- Instead, they look to other kids -their peers- for guidance.
My little blessing was beginning to take on the characteristics of a child around her.
Apparently we were seeing the early stages of Peer Orientation in our homes. Probably fueled by the pressure of being a Sibling of a Special needs Child.
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I found an answer but it raised another question -I’ll get there in another post.
The Solution for our problem took 3 steps:
Step 1: Remove her from the child in question.
- This was not easy or pleasant. She put up a fight to stay in her company.
- We had open conversations about the problem and are included her in the solution. (Many thanks so some wise friends for this advice!)
- At first I felt like a monster. Then, as we began seeing a change in her attitude we rejoiced at the success!
Step 2: Give time away from her Special Needs Sibling
- We began taking her out alone to spend 1 on 1 time.
- She immediately filled with Joy and the attitude disappeared.
- The next day she began asking when the next “Mommy Daughter Date” was and marking it on her calendar!
Step 3: Create safe space away from her Special Needs Sibling
- We created a secret place for her to tuck special toys and books she didn’t want her sister destroying.
- She has a special tub under our bed that she can go to for alone time when she needs time to breath.
As I step back and look at the solution it made perfect sense because I often need these things as well.
Mothers Of Special Needs Children need to take care of themselves as well!
LOL, that will be another post!