I know that all parents probably hear their children, at one time or another, complain that their brother or sister is getting more attention or special treatment than he or she is. Hearing, “But it’s not fair!” is something to which all of us parents can relate. For me, this feeling of unfairness occurs not only in the typical situations, but also in unpredictable times. My son has anxiety and there are many times when his anxiety rises and he needs me. He needs me to leave the room with him, breathe slowly with him, lie down next to him before bed, or stay home from a planned family outing. I see the hurt in my daughter’s eyes when this happens and she has verbalized that she doesn’t have my attention in the same way my son does. What can I do? I want to meet the needs of both of my kids but at times I prioritize my son’s needs when he is in crisis, or in order to avoid a crisis. Is this wrong? I certainly feel guilty about it. How do I make up these moments to my daughter when she feels neglected?
This week’s guest on Caregivers’ Circle is Ann Douglas, author of Parenting Through the Storm. On February 6, 2017 Ann discussed the challenges of raising a child with mental health needs and provided some nice tips on what parents can do to support their child. In this show, Ann and I focus on sibling relationships and the balancing act parents experience when raising a child, or even children, with mental health needs. Listen here.