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Healthy sibling relationships can be a wonderful source of love and support. Siblings help each other to learn about fairness, cooperation, kindness and caring – often the hard way. Sibling arguments are a normal part of learning. Brothers and sisters of children who are deaf or hard of hearing can feel like the forgotten ones and experience resentment and jealousy. They may think that their deaf sibling receives more attention and special privileges. They are often given more responsibility by their parents and may feel it's unfair and feel a lack of individuality. Growing up with a brother or sister who is deaf or hard of hearing will shape who the siblings are and how they operate in the world.

As a parent, you can support healthy relationships between your children. The key to any good relationship is positive communication, between parent and child, and between siblings. Help your family to recognise each other’s strengths and weaknesses. 

Some tips to support siblings of a deaf child include:

  • organise regular parent dates with your hearing child so they do not feel neglected
  • provide age-appropriate information about their sibling's hearing loss and help them understand the needs of their brother or sister
  • encourage questions about deafness
  • encourage the sibling relationship by finding activities they both enjoy and can do together
  • help them to develop a social network with other children
  • remember sibling rivalry is normal, however, there may be times when you need to seek professional help to strengthen the sibling relationship 

"Siblings are the people we practice on, the people who teach us about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring - quite often the hard way." - Pamela Dugdale.

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Disclaimer: The information contained on this website is not intended as a substitute for independent professional advice.

02-Dec-2022 12:33 PM (AEST)