Dealing with siblings of mentally ill kids

Learn about: Dealing with siblings of mentally ill kids from Jay Gaylen,...
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Dealing with siblings of mentally ill kids

I get asked a lot about how siblings in the family are affected. Now, I have an only child, but in teaching this course over the past few years, you hear a lot of stories. And the reality is the kids go through… the other kids that aren’t affected with mental illness are dealing with the same trauma that the parents are going through but in a slightly different way. Suddenly this child that needs the services is getting all the attention. Obviously, there is an illness in the house. If it were a child that had cancer and you’re constantly going for treatment, for chemotherapy and whatever else, that one child gets all the attention. You can understand that, because you can see it – it’s a physical thing. But when it’s mental illness, it’s an emotional rollercoaster and the kids are on that ride too. And those kids feel like they’re not getting the attention that they need. And they’re probably not, because there is so much attention being drawn to the child that demands it. Until you can get balance in the family, learn how to do that, the trauma just gets worse and worse and worse for everyone. Another case and point – while you need to understand what’s going on, be educated and find out how to obtain services so that you can keep as much peace and harmony in the family as possible.

Learn about: Dealing with siblings of mentally ill kids from Jay Gaylen,...


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Jay Gaylen


Jay Gaylen is the dad of a now 22-year old daughter who was diagnosed as a teen with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), Bi-Polar II and ADHD. Jay and his wife, Renu, adopted Joslyn from Thailand. The process started when Joslyn was just nine months old. It took nearly two years to complete the adoption process — a good reason why Joslyn is a RAD kid. They sought help from numerous resources before discovering NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). Jay began lecturing for NAMI’s Parents and Teachers as Allies program while being trained to teach the Family to Family and Basics courses.

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