Siblings

My 17 year old is bipolar. His 14 year old brother is tired of him getting angry at him for no reason so he will no longer speak to him. My 17 year old is very hurt by the way his brother feels about him. They have not spoken in 2 months.


Hi Kim

This situation with siblings is very common when one is a special needs child. As difficult as it may be for the 14 year old to understand, your 17 year old has as illness that makes it more difficult for him to manage his emotions. Getting angry for seemingly no reason is part of the illness. I would sit down with them and tell them you want for them to speak if they are living in the house with one another. They will have to work out there own issues but you can still set rules and guidelines about whats acceptable in your home.

If siblings don't understand the reality of the illness, it can be more difficult for them to tolerate. Sometimes it helps to get siblings their own therapist, so they can have attention to their feelings and concerns. I will often do a session with a sibling just to explain the illness, and then refer them on to someone who can be there just for them.

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