Watch Tilly talking about her experience when her brother Jake got encephalitis.

Depending on their age, they may be aware of how seriously ill their sibling has been. They may be afraid that they too will become ill or that they are in some way to blame for their sibling’s illness.

There’s a real danger that your child’s siblings may lose out because of all the extra attention your child affected by encephalitis needs.

Your other children may have very mixed feelings, alternating between love, protectiveness and jealousy, and resentment and irritation.

For your other children, playing with a brother or sister affected by a brain injury can be frustrating as they may not remember rules of games, their behaviour may be disinhibited and ‘silly’, they may soon lose interest or become tired.

Adolescents may be embarrassed about their sibling’s behaviour. You may be concerned that your other children are missing out
because you don’t meet their needs or that you don’t give them enough time. Dealing with sibling rivalry can be very challenging.

What parents/carers can do

  • You will need to address their concerns and answer their questions. If they do not want to talk to you, find somebody
    else who they can confide in. Or find another way they can express their feelings, such as keeping a diary.
  • Lead by example. Let them know how you feel and that it is okay to feel that way. This will encourage them to express
    their feelings.
  • Let the teachers at school know what they are going through, so they may be able to help.
  • In some areas there are groups for brothers and sisters (sibling groups) that provide emotional support and social
    activities. Ask your local social services/family doctor about them.

THANK YOU to Masonic Charitable Foundation and The Nikki Waterhouse Trust for their support with this animation!


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