Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sibling Jealousy

For the past two years, my daughter has become more and more jealous of her brother and the autism work that we are involved in. She cries and frets about her brother getting special attention because he has autism. It has gotten to the point where we can not even mention autism in our home without her making a face and saying, "It's always about autism MOM!".

At first I thought it was just her being a little girl and eight year old hormones. But I am not sure anymore. Jason and I are involved heavily in the autism community and the Walk Now for Autism Speaks, but we always balance that out with piano lessons and Girl Scout events. We try so hard not to make her feel less or less cared for. Sometimes I think we over compensate (new puppy). I really believe that we have done a good job about giving everyone equal attention and opportunities. But still she feels this way.  Is it just perception or is there something that I am not seeing?

She is a great sister to her brothers. And when she is in her "right" mind she cares deeply about kids with autism and her brother. But when she is upset or sensitive she lashes out at Zion and tells him that autism is bad. Which then makes Zion come to me and ask questions about his autism. He asked me yesterday if he had a brain. (tear)

She usually doesn't complain about objects or things he gets, she actually complains about me feeling more for him.  Not loving him more or caring about him more, but that I cry for him and for other kids with autism more and she wants me to cry for her. I wish it was something I could change easily, but since I seem to overflow with tears when one of "our" kids in the community accomplishes some little or great goal, I don't think this is going to change. I am actually happy I don't have to cry over Hannah in this way. She is amazing. She can accomplish anything she sets her mind to with little or no trouble. 

She will be attending a sibling support group soon and I also may get her some individual therapy. She also will be leaving for Camp Barnabas this week. I am praying that she makes friends with other girls that have brothers who have autism. I pray that she expresses her feelings to them and maybe they can understand her on a level I can't. I only know what it is like to be a mom of a child with autism. The worry, the fear, the hope, the triumph....but I feel that with all my kids. 

Her words everyday,"I wish Zion didn't have autism." That is my wish too, but life has already dealt those cards for us. My wish is that all my kids feel equally loved and cherished, and I seem to failing at it. I guess we just need to work harder.


  1. :'( Help! I'm feeling the same things :( If you have found anything that has worked for you since this post I would love to hear them. I have a 9 yr old son w/ autism, and then a 4 yr old daughter, and 11 mo old son. Their dad is also sick and he's being treated away from home for a while now and it's just me and the kids. She's changed a lot in the last year and a half and she's hurting and struggling so much. My heart is breaking for her. I'm so lost.

  2. Awww, You sound like your family is going through a lot right now. I hope that your husband gets better soon too. It is hard to have to do everything on your own, but hopefully it is just for a time.

    My daughter still has problems with Zion's autism. We try everything we can to reassure her. She sometimes uses Zion's autism as a reason for her bad behavior. She even told me that at least she got attention when she was being naughty. However, my daughter is the most loved girl in the world and she has selective memory when it comes to the amount of time we spend with her and the other kids. She probably gets the most of our time, now that Zion is doing so well. But everything is relative, so her memory is what counts, because that is how she still feels.

    Have you tried any sib shops. They are offered at many different places. That would be my first stop. They are sibling counseling sessions with other siblings, where they can express their feelings in a safe environment. Secondly, I would try to find something that you can do with her that is just about her. If you can not leave the home right now, how about tea parties. My daughter and I had a tea party almost everyday. Get a little tea set and everyday at the same time (so she knows she has set time with mommy), have a tea party. Get hats that you put on everyday and talk about things that are bothering her. My daughter loved it. She now has an affection for Earl Grey tea, and she is only ten!

    Another idea would be to recrut her to be mommy's helper and reward her for that. Coins in a jar for bringing a diaper, etc. Then when she gets so many coins, she can cash those in for special things.

    You also need time away. Do you have a friend who can babysit every now and then? If you need someone to talk to click on the Moms Autism Support Group Facebook tab on the left and get connected with us online. There are a lot of moms out there that can lend an ear and offer support.

    I hope this helps a little. And I will be thinking about you and pray your husband gets well soon.