Gifted and Special Needs Siblings Struggle with Rivalry

They say it takes about 3 to 4 weeks to form a new habit.

For many, the biggest challenge to lasting change is how one relates to their peer group and family.

Anyone who’s ever dieted knows quite well that old patterns die hard.

Even though they mean well, a peer group and your own family may interfere with your new habits and progress of your lifestyle.

The key is being proactive.

Being proud parents of 6 kids, who are unique in their own way, we emphasized that acceptance of each other based on distinct gifts, talents and personalities was a necessity for harmony and balance in the family.  We also realized that as parents, we’ve got to get the family on the same page in order to do the most good.  So, we enrolled in a parenting workshop for parents of special needs children.

Naturally, there is a parental instinct to protect those who cannot protect themselves such as Jonathan (Autistic) and Alex (CP). That instinct, when acted upon consistently may appear to others as favoritism.

To alleviate the tension we’ve written social stories for Jonathan around his relationships with his siblings and in turn, his siblings are a tremendous help. They become our eyes and ears when we’re not around.

All of our kids, including Jonathan, say we favor Jonathan.

With this feedback we began including the other children in our plans and strategies to be supportive to special needs yet balance our time with all the children. This is a delicate balance, though, as we don’t want them to become overburdened and resentful of their special needs siblings.

There were bumps along the way yet we made it a habit to ensure Jonathan and Alex got what they needed from the family as the family shared time with each other growing strong through a supportive foundation.

How has your family adapted to the support required by a special needs individual?

What have you done to stay on track with your individual interests as care giver to a disabled individual?

Tell me what you specifically did and how it worked.

To share your story, leave a comment below.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you.

Karen Simmons
Mother, Wife, Author, Founder & CEO of


P.S. Here is something I would like to recommend that will give you the tips, strategies, and tools you need to help understand time management with special needs persons.

To download a video presentation that will help you understand the nature of and simple solutions to time management with special needs persons, click this link:


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5 years ago

My buddy Kyle has a 17 year old son that wrote about this. Here’s a link in case you’re interested:

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