The role of brothers and sisters.. The process of adaptation of the siblings is achieved by creating a climate of trust and communication between each of the members of the family

The role of brothers and sisters:

The Barcelona Crisis Unit for the comprehensive approach to trauma, crisis, stress and conflict of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (2014) offers a guideline for coping with the illness or hospital admission of a sibling with a chronic illness.

In order to reduce the stress that can be generated in the healthy siblings of a child with a chronic illness, the following should be taken into account:

1- prevent the stress generated by sibling's illness 

The best way to prevent the stress generated by your sibling's illness is by offering clear information adapted to the level of understanding of the healthy child; information bias must be avoided.

The healthy child is often concerned to see parents upset, sad, crying in telephone conversations and is likely to misunderstand the facts.

By educating the healthy sibling about the sick child's illness, their involvement and cooperation are promoted, making them feel important and loved.

Healthy children should feel free to ask whatever they want regarding their sibling's illness and express how they feel without fear of criticism or judgment

2- the childish mentality

Taking into account the childish mentality, normal reactions, doubts and thoughts are expected in the face of a sibling's illness, such as:
Don't they love me anymore?
What will happen if my brother/sister never gets better?

"All the attention goes to him/her" "I'm tired of him/her", feelings of sadness, guilt (healthy siblings think they should be the sick ones), feelings of jealousy, isolation (the sick sibling receives more attention or gifts frequently), disruptive behaviors (temper tantrums, showing aggression towards other family members, decline in academic performance) that often become the means of obtaining attention from their parents and with which care must be taken, because if parents reinforce these behaviors,the healthy child will understand that it is an effective mechanism to achieve the desired attention.

3- time of the day dedicated to healthy children

Parents should know that although the illness of one of the children is an event that requires the whole family to adjust and understand the situation, it does not mean that the other children of the nucleus do not miss them.

An estimated time of the day should be dedicated to healthy children, in order to reduce the disruption of their routines.

Similarly, asking if it is in their interest to visit their brother if he is hospitalized, it is also recommended to avoid constantly naming the sick child, giving space for the brothers to bring up the subject, and do not force the other children to do things for the sick brother that they do not want, it is important to give them the option of doing it voluntarily.

4- the child's siblings are trained in the basic care

For some parents it can be difficult to accept that their other children help in the work of caring for the sick child when they are at home, because they may believe that no one can take care of them better than them or that they are very likely to make mistakes.

However, accepting the help that the child's siblings offer is going to be essential in the adaptation process and in the division of household chores and responsibilities.

For this, it is vital that the child's siblings are trained in the basic care for which you consider that help could be useful and that are in accordance with the capacities of each one.

In this way, they are included in the new routines that are generated and the feeling of exclusion is reduced.

But,care must be taken with the number of activities assigned to siblings to prevent them from assuming burdens they should not and for which they are not prepared so that in the future they do not feel responsible for the disease or the evolution of their sibling.

The process of adaptation of the siblings is achieved by creating a climate of trust and communication between each of the members of the family.