Saturday, October 4, 2014

You Asked... Sibling Relationships

We're raising awareness of Spina Bifida's impact on the whole family this month by answering YOUR questions!   A friend on Facebook wanted to know the following:
Do you feel there is more /less /different sibling dynamics with him? Do your other children feel left out and/or over protective of Mason. I'm curious how the relationships have changed among the kiddos.  - Diana

These are great questions!  By the end of this month my children will be 13, 10, 8, 7, 5, 3, 2, 1, with Mason being the 2 year old.  I think that being the mother of a large number of children works in my favor here because I can see that each of my children has a different relationship with one another.  For example my 5 year old son Oliver and his 3 year old brother Caleb are buddies.  They play together more often than they play with any other sibling.  Daniel and Joseph (age 7 and 10) are another pair that spend a lot of time together because they both love building with Legos.  Emma age 8 is more an equal opportunity sibling.  She likes playing with the little boys in silly toddler and preschool ways but will then turn around and draw with the 13 year old Makayla.  Mason has a special relationship with his oldest sister Makayla but he is an equal opportunity buddy and will happily play with each sibling. 
Do my other children feel left out because of all Mason's appointments and care?  Not generally.  We try to include them when they are interested.  Sometimes they choose to come to appointments.  Other times they help play with him during the hour long nightly enema or participate in his physical therapy games.  When he's recovering from surgery and not allowed to crawl around they'll bring special games or toys to the couch to play with him.  We approach it with a "we all have different things we need and we're a family so we work together to meet those needs" mentality. 

Sometimes my other children do get a little overprotective of Mason, usually when he's just had a surgery.  They're very conscious of any restrictions he's under, like not crawling when wearing casts, and help keep him still.  They offer to carry him or push his wheelchair more than he needs, so we have had to work on having them wait for Mason to ask for help.  On the flip side they are aware of times when Mason wants to participate with a group and they find a way to make it work.  They may carry him upstairs or bring their friends downstairs where he is. 
I think my children's relationships have been influenced more by being a large family with many siblings than by having a sibling with a disability and medical needs. 
I've received several more questions I plan to answer here over the month of October.  If you think of anything you're curious about just ask! 

1 comment:

  1. This is SO good! And I find it true for us too. Just being a family of many changes how the relationships are- but in a very good way. We purpose to be together and home a lot (the farm just needs that lifestyle too) which strengthens those sibling relationships to be solid during the easier and the harder times. I love seeing this photo of ALL the kiddos together on the couch!!


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