The sibling of your child struggling with substances has their own struggle with what their family is going through, but I haven’t shared much about supporting them, so I thought I’d do that today.
Everything I share in this post is a slightly modified version of what I would tell you to do for your child who’s struggling with substances.
As you read this, try to see the similarities so you can modify and apply what you already know.
As a parent, it can be challenging to strike a balance between supporting the struggling child and ensuring the well-being of their sibling who can be directly affected.
Here are some strategies that will help you navigate this delicate terrain:
Creating Connection Without Mentioning the Struggle:
When it comes to the sibling who isn’t struggling with substances, it’s important to focus on building a strong connection without constantly bringing up the challenges their sibling is facing.
Instead, be intentional about creating a connection with them as well. By doing this, you create a space for your child to feel valued independently of their sibling’s struggles.
Forgiveness -A Personal Journey:
Encouraging forgiveness can be a tricky path to navigate. Pushing them to forgive can create resistance. Allow the process of forgiveness to unfold naturally. Share tools to cope with their emotions and emphasize that forgiveness is a personal journey that may take time. Remind them that it’s not only okay but important to prioritize their own emotional well-being.
Avoiding Defense Mechanisms:
Resist the urge to always defend the sibling struggling with substance use. Allowing space for their opinions is vital in maintaining a healthy relationship between siblings. Just as constantly denying the reality of the struggling child can create resistance, defending their actions may make the other sibling feel unheard. Validate their feelings and acknowledge their unique experiences without imposing your perspective.
Creating Space for Change:
Consider their perspective as someone who may have felt neglected or overshadowed. By acknowledging their unique experiences, you create a space for them to express their emotions and concerns. Understand that their resentment may stem from a place of love and concern for your well-being. Allow them the freedom to share their experiences without trying to change their perspective.
Listening Without Judgment:
When they open up about their experiences, listen without trying to change their mind. Validate their feelings by acknowledging the difficulty they may have faced in their own unique context. People crave understanding, and by providing a listening ear without judgment, you create an environment where they feel seen and heard.
Navigating the dynamics between siblings when one is struggling with substance use requires a delicate balance.
By focusing on creating connection, allowing forgiveness to unfold naturally, avoiding defense mechanisms, and creating space for change, you can create a supportive environment for all your kids.
Remember, everyone just wants to be seen, heard, and understood.
Happy Enough Holidays Workshop
How do you feel about the upcoming holidays?
I don’t like the pressure of any holidays, especially the November through January ones.
There are so many in a row and they come with so many obligations and expectations – like a big harmonious family gathering and lots of gifts.
For many of us, it’s just a reminder of what we don’t have when we see all the Facebook-perfect photos that make us feel worse.
No one talks about the pain and grief that the holidays dredge up, they just push holiday food, spending, and cheer.
I could fill a book with stories about painful holidays and with the loss of Helanna I have to manage my mind about the holidays more than ever.
I know I’m not alone when it comes to traumatic holiday experiences.
That’s why Beth Syverson and I decided to do a live interactive Happy Enough Holiday Workshop on Tuesday, November 14th.
We want to help you release the holiday pressure so you can craft the kind of holiday experience that works for you and your family.
It’s YOUR holiday, YOUR rules, and YOUR joy!
This workshop is NOT about pressuring you into having a Hallmark movie holiday.
It’s about empowering you to follow your inner guidance system to rewrite the rules and set your own holiday standards!
Beth and I wanted to make this a no no-brainer decision so we planned a value packed 1.5 hour workshop and priced it at only $20!
If you can’t attend live, sign up anyway and you’ll get the replay.
Click here to sign up: