Supporting Parents. Fostering Change.

Category Archives: Sibling Rivalry

In Step hosted a “Siblings of Special Needs Kids” workshop led by Melanie Kaplan, LCSW, this weekend at our Sterling office. It was a huge success and I asked Melanie to talk a bit about what the kids discussed and to put a date on the calendar for another session.

“The workshop was a great! The kids were all very open and happy to talk to each other about shared experiences. I heard a plethora of “I can relate to that”s, “Oh yeah, me too!”s, and “that definitely happens to me”s. The discussion was so lively and helpful that I hated for it to end.

We spent the majority of our time in discussion about what it’s like to live with a sibling with special needs. Topics that came up from the group included: feelings of wanting to protect your sibling, feelings of resentment, feelings of the unfairness of family time/resources spent on the sibling, embarrassment in public situations, and feelings of anger about mistreatment/misbehavior from the sibling. All of these feelings are natural, normal, and expected from siblings of kids with special needs. This was a wonderful opportunity for them to vent, feel heard, and know that other kids are experiencing the same things.

We also spent some time discussing how they can all de-stress and care for themselves when things are particularly hard with their siblings. Each participant came up with a Self Care Plan for things they could do to care for themselves. They also each left with a master list of de-stressing activities from other group participants. The kids expressed a desire to meet up again and this time talk about communication within their families and how to express what they need. I am hopeful we can add new kids to the group to expand on the idea that other families have similar struggles.”

If you would like to sign up for our next workshop, here is the registration information.

Posted in Anxiety in Children, Sibling Rivalry | Comments off

I am still thinking about the conference I attended recently and thought I would offer this set of strategies for my teacher/school counselor/youth group/girl scout leader/group therapy colleagues. (Even those of you with multiple children!)

We use this method to encourage cooperation, to highlight positive social interactions, or to get help from group members in problem solving conflict between two members.
The S.O.A.R. approach includes the following steps:
S – Stop Action
O – Observe Aloud
A – Ask for Feedback
R – Reinforce Cooperative Interaction

Freeze action during a group activity to observe out loud cooperative efforts. Watch how this technique empowers the group to cooperate!
S – Stop Action: “Hey guys, let’s freeze for a second here.”
O – Observe Aloud: “Is anyone noticing how great this group is all working together right now?”
A – Ask for Feedback: “How great does it feel to work so well together as a team?  If you like it, say, ‘Yes’!”
R – Reinforce Cooperative Interaction: “What great teamwork!”
Freeze action during group activity to enlist help from other group members in solving problems between two members.
S – Stop Action: “Hey guys, let’s freeze for a second here.”
O – Observe Aloud: “Is there anyone noticing what is happening here between Andy and Shawn?”
A – Ask for Feedback: “Grady noticed that Andy and Shawn are fighting over the same toy.  Does anyone in the group have any ideas to help them solve this problem?”
R – Reinforce Cooperative Interaction: “Grady suggested Andy and Shawn could take turns with the toy.  Does that idea work for both of you?  What great team work!”
Let me know how it works for you in your groups.

Posted in Communication, Group Therapy, Sibling Rivalry | Comments off