If you have a child who lives in chronic pain you can’t stop it having an impact on your other children.
As I struggled to cope with the added pressure of my daughter living in pain, I came to have unrealistic expectations of my other younger daughter.
I realised one day I felt angry if ever she got sick. Inside I would think, “No! I NEED you to be well”.
I came to depend on my second child to be patient at endless doctors appointments. I expected her to be super kind to her sister.
Over time I gave her a lot less attention because I felt she wasn’t needing me as much.
At some point I became aware that my behavior was unfair. I negotiated some agreements with my daughter.
- We decided she could have a “wellness” day off school every few months.
- We set up a regular date to go out for hot waffles and ice cream.
- We decided that on our dates we would not talk about her sister.
- We agreed that she would not attend her siblings doctors appointments with us.
- We agreed that she did not have to visit her sister in hospital unless she chose to.
- My daughter had special holidays with family and friends to have a fun breaks from our stressed household.
- We found her a psychologist and agreed she could visit her whenever she felt she needed to.
- I made a decision to let the kids sort out their own relationship and try to mind my own business.
The American Academy of Pediatrics website has a page on Siblings of Kids With Chronic Illness. I recommend you have a quick read.
These days my daughters get on well. I’ll never know how much the changes I made have influenced this.
Do you have special strategies you use in your family?
Waffle photo courtesy of Bunnyhero at Flickr Creative Commons.