Ways to help siblings of ADHD children
Children who have siblings with ADHD often experience challenges and all sorts of emotions. They may feel exasperated, frustrated, and baffled by their sibling’s behaviors. They may even feel jealous of all the attention that their sibling receives. The ADHD behavior can cause provocation and lead to the non-ADHD sibling finding it more difficult to maintain self-control.
Some siblings may even take on more responsibility and then feel overwhelmed. They may even end up feeling invisible and unimportant, withdrawing from others and unable to ask for help.
If you have something like this going on in your home, these steps can help your non-ADHD child cope with his or her sibling with ADHD:
- Ensure you have enough one-to-one time with your non-ADHD child. Set a schedule and keep that time only for your child. This will ensure that your child is getting the positive attention and nurturing that he or she needs.
- Let your child know that you understand how tough it can be for them to deal with his ADHD sibling, especially when they are having a tough time managing the ADHD symptoms. Give your child a safe space to vent their feelings, and an opportunity to be heard.
- Work with the non-ADHD child to teach him techniques that will help them appropriately deal with problematic behaviors from the ADHD sibling. Brainstorm, role play and practice these strategies so that the responses begin to feel more automatic and natural for your child.
- Be empathetic and understanding with your non-ADHD child when he has trouble dealing with the ADHD sibling. Understand that it may be difficult for your non-ADHD child to resist acting out himself when his ADHD sibling engages in provoking behaviors.
- Make sure you turn your living environment to become more ADHD-friendly. This include setting clear house rules and consequences, listing out specific routines, tight supervision, offering frequent feedback and lots of praise. This helps all the children in the house and it is also a great way of helping your ADHD child manage difficult symptoms.
Following the above tips can help your non-ADHD child feel more at ease with you and others in the house, and will also help provide a great environment for your ADHD child. After all, family is a team work and it is your duty to ensure the happiness of every member of the team, including your own self.