Sibling with special needs

Pamela Varady, PsyD Psychologist and Parent Expert, shares advice for parents of a special needs child on the importance of also spending one-on-one time with their typical child sibling
Parenting Tips | Loving Your Child With A Special Needs Sibling
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Sibling with special needs

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Sometimes in a sibling pair where there is a typical sibling and then a sibling with special needs, you'll often find that the sibling that's typical gets less attention in the family. Often the parents are trying to help the child that needs it the most. It is really important to note this. It's important to let the child know that you notice that they are getting less attention than their brother and that you are sorry. Your brother needs more, in terms of help, and that's why I'm giving him more attention. Sometimes that's not good enough. You still need to give that typical child attention and have one-on-one time with them, where you are spending time together. A child who is typical, who is the sibling of the child with special needs, they often have very conflicting emotions about their sibling. They sometimes feel jealous because their sibling gets more attention. Often, they also have survivors guilt. They are so happy that they are not the one with the special needs. At the same time, they feel guilty because they are not the one. While they feel relieved that they don't have all these problems and don't need extra help, they also feel guilty and sad and walk around saying "Why wasn't it me?" These are very complex feelings and it's really important for the smart parent to say that they are perfectly normal and fine, and to allow them to express that.

Pamela Varady, PsyD Psychologist and Parent Expert, shares advice for parents of a special needs child on the importance of also spending one-on-one time with their typical child sibling

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Pamela Varady, PsyD

Psychologist

Dr. Pamela Varady is a Child and Adult Psychologist and sought-after parenting expert. She has appeared as a relationship expert on NBC, Discovery Health Network, The Today Show and Fox TV.  Dr. Varady wrote a workbook, 15 Minutes To Sibling Harmony and conducts seminars and Purposeful Parenting Classes throughout Southern California. In addition, Dr. Varady operates Dynamic Learning and Listening Center for children with special needs with her husband, Dr. Jackson Varady and sister, Dr. Jennifer Glasser, who are also psychologists. Pamela lives in Santa Monica with her husband and 13 year old twin boys.

 

 

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