In our most recent post on children with autism we talk about how to explain autism to siblings. I know first hand how challenging sibling relationships can be. My kids fight as often as my sister and I did when we were growing up. How to divide things, like our room at our mom’s or the pull out couch at our dad’s, was a common one. My kids are fortunate in that they don’t share space, but they find other things to argue about.
I have done a lot of reading about sibling rivalry and I understand where their conflict comes from. I do my best to minimize it, and they know this is one of my buttons. Bickering is a sure-fire way to push me past my breaking point. On the other hand, cooperating and “ganging up” on me will get them most anything.
When they get frustrated with each other I try to talk to them about how each of them might be feeling. When my youngest was having a hard time sleeping and I was spending extra time with her, my oldest would be upset so I would explain that her sister needed the extra attention (being replaced as the baby in the family when her dad had a new baby was the root cause of the sleepless nights). Similarly when my oldest needs help with homework and my youngest feels ignored I take the time to talk to her about why her sister needs my help.
These are all common, everyday problems that most families face. In writing our latest post for my sister’s website, we discussed ways to explain the much more complicated topic of autism to children. It was a very interesting post for me to help write:
I love that I’m learning new things every day.