Siblings with Disabilities

By: Isabelle Siegel

People readily consider the struggles experienced by children with disabilities as well as by their parents, but siblings’ experiences and difficulties oftentimes go unnoticed. However, growing up with a sibling with a disability is not without consequences. Having a sibling with special needs is associated with numerous challenges, but also numerous opportunities.

Challenges

Growing up alongside a sibling with a disability can be associated with many negative emotions, some of which include anger, guilt, jealousy, embarrassment, and fear. Siblings of children with disabilities often report feeling neglected by their parents and feeling forced to hide their own problems for the sake of their family or brother/sister. They may also undergo “parentification,” meaning that they take on the role of a parent to themselves or even to their sibling. Although this parentification is associated with increased maturity, it is also associated with increased emotional vulnerability and distress. Taken together, these negative emotions and challenges render siblings of children with disabilities at higher risk for developing psychological adjustment difficulties: that is, they are more vulnerable than the average child to anxiety disorders, peer problems, academic struggles, and more.

Opportunities

People are quick to assume that having a sibling with a disability is a purely negative experience. However, growing up alongside a sibling with a disability is associated with many positive emotions and opportunities. Siblings of children with disabilities report feeling immense pride, gratitude, loyalty, and love. They tend to be more mature, responsible, empathetic, and tolerant than the average child. These positive experiences are equally as important as the negative ones, and must be acknowledged in order to fully comprehend what it is like to have a sibling with a disability.

What Parents Can Do

In order to best help the siblings of children with disabilities, parents can take several steps. These include:

  • Making sure to spend one-on-one time with each child
  • Keeping the siblings informed about their brother’s or sister’s disability and its implications
  • Understanding both the negative and positive emotions associated with being the sibling of a child with disabilities
  • Getting siblings involved in psychological services such as therapy

If you or a loved one is the sibling or parent of a child with a disability, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/band-brothers-and-sisters/201406/siblings-children-disabilities
https://www.psychiatryadvisor.com/home/topics/child-adolescent-psychiatry/emotional-problems-facing-siblings-of-children-with-disabilities/
Image Source: https://raisingchildren.net.au/disability/family-life/siblings/supporting-siblings

Depression and Empty Nest Syndrome

Depression and Empty Nest Syndrome

Depression and Empty Nest Syndrome

By: Lauren Hernandez

                It’s about time that college students may return back to their parent’s home for the summer. At first, many parents are excited for their children to go to college or begin their professional career, however, it is common for parents to feel sad, lonely, and experience grief when their children leave their childhood home. Typically women will struggle more than men during these times, especially when women were full-time mothers. It is important to know that Empty Nest Syndrome is a transitional period in life rather than a clinical disorder or diagnosis. Although the change brings about conflicting emotions, parents are encouraged to support their children in the gradual process towards adulthood.

Symptoms of Empty Nest Syndrome:

  • Sadness
  • Excessive crying
  • Loss
  • Depression
  • Loneliness
  • Distress
  • A loss of purpose and meaning in life

 

If you or someone you know is experiencing the feelings associated with Empty Nest Syndrome, it is important to refocus your lifestyle and relationships with those living with you. Ways to cope with Empty Nest symptoms include starting new hobbies such as reading, golfing, listening to podcasts, or starting yoga classes. Activities like these may force you to leave the house and engage in a stimulating action which can relieve depressive symptoms and allow you to find something new to put your energy into.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Empty Nest Syndrome, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

 

 

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/empty-nest-syndrome

 

Image Source:

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