So I’ve been avoiding this particular topic for awhile. There are so many questions and feelings and unknowns, but since I am being brave this month and in doing so also want to be honest.
In an attempt to not be overwhelmed or get overwhelmed myself I’m going to talk about siblings and the Difficult Mind Q&A style…maybe we will all learn something!
Our son is the oldest of 4. We are Boy (7) Girl (5) Girl (2.5) Boy (8 months). It is definitely never boring and these kids are each unique and fun and different in their own way. It really is fun to get to know each of them!
What is the relationship like between the Difficult Mind and the other kids?
It depends on the day! These kids can be like any other kids. From petty fights about who gets to sit where to sweet moments of taking turns and playing together.
What does the Difficult Mind think about his siblings?
My Difficult Minded son often views the other kids more as objects than people. His mind doesn’t associate people with emotions, it only associates people with actions. If a person doesn’t like something they can DO something to change it or if they are sad about something they can DO something to make themselves feel better. The idea that doing something could hurt someone’s feelings doesn’t come into play for him.
What do the other kids think about the Difficult Minded child?
He has always been their sibling so they don’t know any differently. They do get frustrated with him quicker than they do with each other. Overall they don’t view him as different and I am so grateful for that.
How do you think having siblings affects the Difficult Mind?
My experience is that while it is hard, it is really good for our son to have siblings. When he is with us he is forced into a lot of uncomfortable situations that he would just avoid anywhere else. Unlike other social situations we love him unconditionally. If he makes a huge misstep at school there are consequences from his teacher and that indirectly shapes how his peers feel about him. At home if he makes a misstep we can correct him, have a do-over and remind him that no matter what he does we love him for who he is.
How do you think having a Difficult Minded sibling affects your other kids?
I do think it can be hard on the other kids. There are many moments I feel very sad that the other kids have been exposed to such a difficult environment so young.
On the other hand, they are already so compassionate and understanding. Even when our son didn’t feel well the other day our daughter got him a blanket, water bottle and a book to comfort him. I anticipate that having a Difficult Mind as a sibling will grow their understanding and acceptance of people different than themselves.
Why have more kids if you already had one that was struggling?
This answer is specific to us and what we feel we have been called to and can handle as a family. At its inception we didn’t know everything we do now about our son but even then, I don’t think we would have done things differently.
As a couple and a family we feel like we have been called to love each kid that comes into this family. We have the capacity to manage the kids we have right now physically, emotionally and spiritually. We have 4 kids and we are thankful!
One of our biggest jobs as parents is to develop our children into the people they were created to be. For all our children this means being intentional in knowing their personality, emotional needs, physical limits and spiritual understanding.
Each child is different! In our limited human capacity we are all flawed. As my son struggles with emotions and social interactions he has a very strong grasp on who he is and understands deep spiritual concepts. My other kids will be different.
My hope is I will love each child uniquely, just as they were meant to be loved.
“Hope and Sorrow in it all there’s rescue and there’s not.”
There’s Rescue: By having siblings my son is learning how to interact with the world. By having a difficult sibling my other children are learning compassion.
There’s Not: When one child needs a lot of attention there are times when I feel that life is really unfair for the other kids. I have to rely on grace to intervene and help the other kids know in other special ways that they too are deeply loved.
Today I am thankful for families. In families we are able to be fully accepted as ourselves and forgiven but still deeply loved when we fall short.