Siblings

Biggest Challenge: Siblings

--Zelda

Response from DM:

Dear Zelda,

Siblings have been with us all our lives. They know us and we know them. They know where our “buttons” are. They can be the best support system for us because of our shared background and years of family knowledge. They can also be a major source of frustration because they might not be giving us what we think we need, or expect, in terms of support. Sometimes we are surprised by our siblings’ generosity and sometimes disappointed. But the bottom line is that siblings are just people like anyone else who have their own needs, opinions, desires, goals, and responsibilities. Often there are other currents running through their lives that we are not even aware of. The best place to start when dealing with siblings, or anyone for that matter, is to state the facts, as you best understand them. I always write out the specific needs or issues that need to be addressed in the current situation. Then state what you can do, are willing to do, have the time to do, and how you can contribute financially. Then ask your siblings what level of involvement they are willing to have.  Make sure to give them a reasonable amount of time to respond. Very often the primary caregiver, who carries all or most of the responsibility, is fully aware of all of the problems and circumstances. Those watching from afar, unless they are kept in the loop, will assume all is going well, and that you are competent to handle it all. Your siblings will only know what is going on if you keep them fully informed, in an ongoing manner, and let them know specifically where you need their assistance. I have siblings of my own, and it has not always been an easy or harmonious journey.

Sincerely,

Dr. Marion

 

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