Sibling Support Information and Stories
When a family is dealing with a serious medical issue for one of its members, it takes a tremendous toll on the whole family and siblings are no exception.
Being aware of the confusion and stress that the healthy children in your family might be feeling is important.
This section is designed to give you an idea of some of the emotions your other children might have and to also share with you the stories of a few siblings.
We asked a few parents about how their other children felt and these were the more common responses:
- Worried that they will get sick also
- Worried that their sick sibling will die
- Guilty because they’re healthy
- Resentful because the ill child gets more attention
- Sad because they miss their parents/siblings
- Nostalgic for the way they were before
- Anxious of being away from parents
We asked for a few ideas to help siblings deal with the illness in the family:
- Seek support group for your child. We have included a few sibling support groups that we found below. Ask around or do an online search to see if others are available in your area.
- Keep communication open by encouraging siblings to talk. Having quiet time with your healthy child might help them open up.
- Try to maintain as normal a schedule as possible. Giving your children advanced notice might help them deal better with the events taking place. For example, put a calendar on your fridge and write in or draw pictures of events that you know are coming up. Discuss these in simple terms that your child will understand and do it often. An example for smaller kids is, “In two days, mommy and brother Billy will be going into the hospital. You will sleep at your uncle’s house for two sleeps then mommy will be back on Friday.”
- Spend some alone time with your healthy child.
- Be patient. This is so hard when you are emotionally and physically exhausted. But know the little ones are hurting too.
- Include siblings in treatment and care such as getting a warm blanket for their sick sibling and letting them help tuck them in. Have them create a card for their sibling and place it at the bedside.
- Inform your child’s teacher about the current situation. This might be another way for them to get support.
- Include children in fundraising or activities to give back to the community.
Neurosurgery Kids Fund
Super Sibling Days are special events hosted by the Neurosurgery Kids Fund where siblings are celebrated for being amazing brothers and sisters to their medical siblings. Each event will be unique and guaranteed to be fun.
Follow us on facebook for more information.
The City of Edmonton hosts workshops for siblings of children with mental, physical or developmental special needs. The workshops provide the opportunity for peer support and education for the sibling while being fun and recreational based.There are a variety of sessions for different age groups. Visit edmonton.ca and search for “Sibshops” or call 311 for assistance.
- Kids with Cancer – Sibling Support
Kids with Cancer offers workshops that are focused on helping brothers and sisters deal with the illness in the family and the stressors that surround it.
Each session includes group and individuals activities. For more details visit kidswithcancer.ca.