In families with two or more children, it can be challenging to figure out how to support positive relationships between siblings while meeting the unique needs of each child. This goal can feel especially tricky when one or more of the siblings has a disability.
Below are a few resources aimed at supporting healthy sibling relationships and ensuring that the unique needs of each sibling are being met.
Importance of Sibling Relationships
The American Psychological Association offers an overview of research into the importance of sibling relationships.
In her article, Improving Sibling Relationships, the APA’s Kristen Weir states that these long-lasting relationships are more critical than many people think–offers insights on how to improve them.
Siblings of Children with Mental Health Needs
The Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Network developed a short brochure aimed at encouraging families to understand and support the needs of children whose sibling has mental health needs. This resource offers insights into the perspective of these siblings and encourages parents and caregivers to find space for listening, validating their feelings, and supporting them to invest in their own lives and wellbeing. Read the brochure
Another two-pager is offered by the Parent Professional Advocacy League, which developed a tip sheet aimed at families. Emphasizing the importance of tapping into sibling support networks, this brochure also encourages parents and caregivers to be kind to themselves and prioritize self-care. Read PPAL’s tip sheet.
Those Who Grew Up with a Sibling with Disabilities
The Massachusetts Sibling Support Network offers a variety of resources and supports for siblings and parents/caregivers of persons with disabilities.
On their resource-rich website, you can find:
- Overview of programs and services
- Resource library of articles and videos
- Support groups and mentorship for adult siblings – and referrals to other helpful organizations.