Sibling rivalry – ADHD style

B turns 14 this year. He has had to deal with having a disabled older brother his whole life. While S has always been a very supportive part of K’s life, B has remained indifferent towards him. I always chalk it up to the age difference, in more ways than one. K is 4 years older than B, but acts like he is much younger. I have told B on many occasions that he has to take on a “big brother” role with K. I don’t think he really understands what that entails. S started watching K on his own when he was 14 but I don’t think I can expect the same with B. His ADHD makes it hard for me to leave them alone together, as I am never sure if B is actually watching him. He gets distracted so easily and I need his mind to be on K. I always feel like this is unfair to him. He has always felt that K gets all the attention and no matter how hard I try to explain about K’s disability B never seems to understand.
Sometimes if K is fighting with me, B will come to my rescue, but he will slap K away. I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing. It stops K from hurting me, but I don’t want B to take on a “bully” role with him. At 14, B is already 6 ft 3 in and can be very intimidating. K must think so, because his interactions with B are next to nothing.
I can only imagine how tough it is for B. I try to do something special with him when K is at respite, and hopefully that will start again soon. B looks forward to this time because he is the center of attention for a week. He gets what he wants for dinner, we go to the movies, whatever he wants to do. That’s the only thing I can do for him right now.
I would love some feedback about other siblings and how they deal with having a disabled brother or sister.



One thought on “Sibling rivalry – ADHD style

  1. My special needs daughter is 7 and her older, typical sister is 9. I think this has made the sibling dynamic easier for us because the older one has grown up with an understanding of her role with the younger one and (thankfully) accepts it fully. They’ve never fought. I wish I had some words of wisdom, but all I can say is that my heart ached when I read this. I think some of this is just going to take time. Setting aside the ADHD, I know I was pretty wrapped up in myself at 14. I have to think perspective and greater understanding will come.

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