Sibling Rivalry and Neurodiversity – Podcast Episode 7 of Season 2

Mariah is the mom of two children. Joe is 9 and 1/2 and Clara recently turned 7. Over the past few years they have been on a journey with Joe of evaluations, medications, and support as they navigated his neurodiversity. It has been a long journey with many bumps. Todays conversation is not about Joe. Today Mariah wanted to talk about her daughter Clara, who experienced the rage and explosions since she was 4 years old. Recently she has been exhibiting her own challenging behavior, demonstrating behavior similar to what her brother used to do. Mariah is sensitive to the differences in her children and realizes that her daughter is not having the same struggle as her son, so she is not sure what to do.

Clara watched as her brother received help and the family received support, she is now verbalizing that she wants help also. She is able to self regulate and able to express that she is ‘doing what her brother did’. Receiving the right support for her is different than her brother and she still needs support.

Dr. Marcie suggested having her see a therapist to talk through her trauma. In conjunction with that, she highlighted additional elements that might support Clara:

1. Creating moments where Clara receives 100% of Mariah’s attention. During the intense moments her brother had, all the family attention was on him. Now she, unconsciously, wants that same intensity of attention. Create moments, intentionally, where Clara can receive this focused attention without the breakdown.

2. Provide predictability in the time she gets with her parents. Have 1:1 time that is scheduled. If she knows that it happens every day or every week, reliably, she will not need to create situations for it happen.

3. Create moments of hight intensity emotions that are positive and fun. Dr. Marcie suggested Positive Yelling, during which parents use all the characteristics of yelling yet done with positive words when something good happens. Kids have big emotions and seeing their parents have big emotions helps them feel seen and safe. Positive Yelling is a great way to show Clara that big feelings can be a positive experience.

Overall, Dr. Marcie suggested to bring in more joy to the family. Things are in a good place with Joe and Clara seems to be looking for connection with her behavior. Brining in more happy moments, intentionally will be a healing place for the entire family.

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