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Sibling jealous of SN brother. Any advice?

(9 Posts)
Shells Sun 03-Aug-08 09:56:06

DS1 is nearly 7 and DS2 is 4 with a speech disorder and some associated behavioural issues. They have always got on quite well in a rough and tumble sort of way usually. However lately DS1 has just been so horrible to DS2 in a really spiteful way and I am finding it very difficult to cope with.

I think partly its about the fact that DS1 has a conventional system of consequences of bad behaviour and DS2 doesn't. We do reprimand him when he does something wrong, but his comprehension is too poor to understand anything too complex like a rewards system. DS1 is increasingly furious about it. 'Its not my fault, tell HIM off' is his constant refrain. Everything DS2 does, usually friendly and fun is fobbed off as annoying or stupid. He often hits him and often screeches at him 'BE QUIET' which of course I get really cross at as DS2 is trying so hard to communicate.

We have had conversations about DS2s language issues but he doesn't really get it.

Am I being unreasonable to expect DS1 to understand that there are exceptional circumstances at work? He does get loads of one on one time with us, and gets loads more material stuff as DS2 is generally not interested.

I have read many of you saying how wonderful your NT siblings have turned out having learned compassion from their circumstances. Is there hope for my boy? Sorry to sound so dramatic, but I'm not sure how to handle this and its upsetting me.

Joggeroo Sun 03-Aug-08 23:32:48

No advice but didn't want to leave your post unanswered. My DS1 with SN siblings are all younger and just getting to the age where they are starting to notice that the rules for him are different in order to be fair if you see what I mean.

I don't think you are being unreasonable to expect DS1 to understand that DS2 needs rules and boundaries that he can understand and that they be different to the expectations you have of DS1, after all they would probably naturally be a little different anyway since there are 3 years between them. I suspect gently and consistently is the way to proceed putting an emphasis on how your DS1 might develop insight into DS2's understanding. He may well have compassion for others that he has learned at home but maybe he doesn't like to show it at home!

Do you have any access to any sibling groups so DS1 can spend time with other people with siblings with special needs?

sphil Mon 04-Aug-08 00:02:12

No advice really, but wanted to say you're not alone. I have a similar situation in that DS1 (7) is sometimes quite intolerant of DS2 (5.5 with ASD). We get the 'Be quiet!' screech too, though not the hitting as yet. DS1 also gets lots of 1:1 time, privileges etc.

Occasionally he will play with DS2 for a short time, but most of the time he seems unaware of his presence, which I find just as bad as the intolerance tbh. DS2 is always going up to DS1 and trying to hug him or get eye contact with him and DS1 usually just stares into space! He very rarely initiates any interaction with DS2 whatsoever. If we try to 'manage' some joint play DS1 will often just muck about and/or take over completely.

It sounds really awful, but we've just started giving him 'points' for responding appropriately to DS2 - each point is an extra minute on the computer blush. It seems terrible to be rewarding something which I feel should be 'natural' - but it doesn't come naturally to DS1 and he responds very well to reward systems, so...

Sorry - off at a tangent. DS1 does have some AS traits, which I'm sure are contributing to our particular situation. It sounds as if your DS1 is very different.

Shells Mon 04-Aug-08 01:35:22

Thanks you two for your replies. Very helpful. My DS1 does a lot of that stuff too Sphil and I have been thinking of a reward chart for him. Crazy that I should have to FORCE him to be nice. Or at least respectful. But it might help a bit.

I think he has the ability to be compassionate (we also have DD - baby - who he is excellent with).

You're right Joggeroo in that even if DS2 was NT he would be receiving a different set of rules due to his age.

sphil Mon 04-Aug-08 18:39:09

Oh DS1 is wonderful with other people's younger children! He spent three hours playing with a friend's 3 year old the other day - the parents were going on and on about how wonderful he was. In a way I was pleased but I was also a bit resentful that he doesn't have that kind of patience with DS2. But I guess that's because the child was responding 'normally' and DS2 doesn't.

Shells Mon 04-Aug-08 20:49:29

I guess thats what it is isn't it. It makes me feel sad/sick/cross in equal measures. Does your DS1 know how to describe the ASD? I'm thinking maybe I need to give mine more language about it, so it makes it more real in a way and more understandable.

sphil Mon 04-Aug-08 21:57:16

I think we've been less good about talking to him about it recently. When DS2 was first diagnosed, we explained autism as 'wires in the brain that don't connect up in the same way as yours' and DS1 would repeat this if any of his friends asked about DS2. Earlier this year he went through a phase of saying ' This-is-my-brother-H-he's-autistic -which-means-he-can't-do-anything'sad.I had a gentle word and he informed me recently that he now says that DS2 has 'special needs' because 'no-one knows what autistic means'.

We've got the book 'My brother is different' which was helpful in a way, though DS2 doesn't fit all the descriptions in the book.

It makes me feel sad/sick/cross too! And I think DS1 may pick up on that, which isn't good blush. DS2 is extremely passive too - so it's not even as if DS1 has got difficult behaviour to contend with.

Shells Mon 04-Aug-08 22:57:10

Sounds like such a similar situation. Its good to know we're not the only ones.

We need to have some more chats with him definitely. Our DS2 is quite passive too, and incredibly sweet natured and constantly trying to get DS1s attention. 'Look! A rock!'. DS1 can barely hide his disdain...

Grrrr.

Do let me know how your reward system goes.

sphil Tue 05-Aug-08 08:01:58

I know that friends have become incredibly important to DS1 this year (for the first time really) and I wonder if he's making the comparison between the games he plays with them and what DS2 can do (he has VERY limited play skills). Also DS2 never speaks to DS1 - only to adults - even when he asks DS1 for 'big hugs' he looks at me as he says it. So I guess it's not surprising in a a way. I have to keep reminding myself that's there's only 16 months between them in age!

BUT - many of DS1's friends and DS2's classmates are MUCH better at relating to him than DS1. They are constantly trying to get him to respond and play with them = which is why mainstream school has been so good for him. He's interested and does respond - with gestures and body language more than speech - but it's DS1 that he loves more than anyone, and DS1 won't play ball.

Grrrr indeed.

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