Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Being the Other One
I recently purchased Being the Other One after a recommendation by another trach mom. It focuses on helping siblings of special needs children to thrive in their family and has been a real eye-opener for me.
While I'm not crazy about the writing style overall, I do like how the author, Kate Strohm, uses interviews from fellow siblings to explain the dynamics of the relationship they have with their family. Strohm's writing is a bit dull and repetitive for my taste, but the content of her writing resonates with me.
The biggest idea that I've seen repeated throughout the book is that I need to meet Caleb where he is and allow him to feel what he wants to feel. Life's not all rosy, and growing up with Abby won't always be wonderful. It's easy for people to say how much better he'll be for having Abby in his life, or how much more patient he'll be, etc. It's uncomfortable for people to acknowledge that Caleb will most likely resent Abby to a degree or wish that things were different. After all, life as we know it has changed and that is scary for him.
So, our job as Caleb's parents will be to love him, acknowledge his frustrations, and provide him with opportunities for him to develop into his own person....not just "Abby's Brother."
Caleb has already shown a few signs of resentment that we're working through. I'm glad that I'm reading this book because it is helping me to recognize these signs a bit more and deal with them as they come instead of as a major meltdown when everything bubbles up to the surface.