Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sibling Support

The other night my middle child asked me a serious question. He wanted to know if he was the only kid to have a brother with a mood disorder. He explained that it was very hard and he felt like he was the only kid in the world like this.

This was a wonderful question and also an eye opening one too. I was surprised to find that my 7 year old had these type of thoughts. I knew that things were hard for him and he wished his brother never had this disorder, but I never thought about how he saw himself fitting into the world.

His question is one I understand very much. For me, seeking support started with finding other moms just like me, so I could find comfort in knowing that I wasn’t alone. So, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that he would have these feelings too.

With a hug and heart-to-heart talk, I was able to reassure him that he wasn’t alone, sharing that there were many other families just like ours. I also told him that if he was ever interested, I would seek out a support group with kids just like him, so he could talk with them about his experience. He thought that was pretty cool and decided maybe he would someday when he was older, but for now, he was already feeling better after talking with me.

This moment was a good reminder that everyone in our family may need support, but since I haven’t crossed this bridge yet, it got me thinking about what many of you do to help your other children. Please share with us, for when the time is right, I want to be able to do everything I can.


  1. I grew up with a sibling with emotional issues and wish my parents had provided me with those kinds of resources. I think NAMI may have resources for siblings. Hopefully your kids get outlets to discuss and work out their feelings in whatever way they need over the years. I don't know how likely they are to come tell you they need support as your son did in this case, so a little encouragement and checking in with them regularly in that area could help too.

    As I'm sure you know, the whole family is affected by this type of situation, and for children it can be harder since they don't have the perspective and coping skills that we as adults have.

    It sounds like you are doing the best you can for all your kids under tough circumstances. From my own personal experience I just add make sure to let the other kids feel valued and have attention, as that can often fall by the wayside when one child has a lot of intensive needs.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your experience, it is so helpful to get feedback from someone who has lived it from your perspective. We need to be reminded to touch base with our other kids when they themselves aren't expressing it on their own and to make the effort to give them special attention, it can easily get lost with everything else we are trying to do. The last thing I want to do is miss the opportunity to help my other kids get through this.