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SPECIAL TREATMENT. Special needs kids in a blended family.

I have three children, two biological children and one step child. They are all similar ages and I am the full time mother for all of them. The goal is to treat them all equally, love them all as my children and raise them without preference or favoritism. They are all young and they are all my babies. So I have this problem... it's already hard enough to show them that I love them all as my children equally because of the blended family issue... but then there is the fact that my two bio children have special needs. SEVERE special needs. They are both developmentally behind (so things like responsibility expectations and severity of punishment have to be based on their mental age more than their physical age) and physically disabled. By default I am in the hospital with my two bio kids and they are showered with gifts when they are ill and so on. We try and even everything out, but it's very hard to not cripple one by catering to the other. I know all kids have unique individual needs but how do I juggle them all without giving anyone a complex? Has anyone been here?

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Asked by ashleyaction at 12:04 PM on Jan. 11, 2011 in General Parenting

Level 16 (2,543 Credits)
Answers (8)
  • I wish I could really help...but both my two children have special needs..My son has Aspergers/ADHD combined and my 2 year old daughter has severe developmental delays, hasn't walked yet or talked, eats pureed and some mashed foods..that sorta thing.
    I think the biggest thing you could do is to try to involve your other children more into being helpful, shower them sincerely with compliments when they do something, ANYTHING that warrants praise, and try to be fair when giving gifts to them when giving gifts to your special needs. Time spent alone with either mommy or daddy on a special outing somewhere with just them without the other special need kids once in a while might offset the feelings of jealousy they might have, and make them feel special in and of themselves. Hope that helps:)

    Answer by Heathercurlz at 12:14 PM on Jan. 11, 2011

  • Thank you! We are trying all of these things! I always think I'm showing enough love and enough giving enough to each person's unique personal needs but I think SD might actually have to listen to bio mom (during the sparce time she gets her) say things about how she's not as special to us as she is to her. I think she is jealous and resentful of the time we spend with SD. I don't know but SD often says things about how we love the other kids more, she's only 4. I don't want to cave to attention seeking behavior and cripple her even more but it's hard to know she's hurting that way. I am often very torn, but I am always making a conscious effort to love and include everyone. Sometimes SD even feins sick for attention. It's very startling.

    Comment by ashleyaction (original poster) at 12:23 PM on Jan. 11, 2011

  • It sounds to me like you are doing great as their mother! Try not to be hard on yourself, although when motherhood always comes with the responsibilities of trying to make the best possible choices, it's hard not to second guess yourself. It's important I think to acknowledge the feelings of your other children and to tell them that you can understand why they'd feel that way...but then go on to tell them individually why they are so special to you. Sounds like you've got your plate full momma, hang in there, and always try to find the positive in your other children when you can. They know you love them and will come to understand someday why you had to spend a little more time with your special needs. Your trying to keep all of them a priority, and that to me says alot!

    Answer by Heathercurlz at 12:29 PM on Jan. 11, 2011

  • Next time your children are showered with gifts because the are in the hospital, shower the SD with gifts as well. As she gets older, she is gonna have to understand that she is getting older but because of their special needs her step sibllings aren't developing as much and they need more atteniton then she does. Right now, she is not old enough to understand this concept, you simply HAVE to show her just as much attention. How old are your special needs kids?

    Answer by JLS2388 at 12:38 PM on Jan. 11, 2011

  • my kids are behind but they will probably catch up cognitively. My bio son is 1.5 and my bio daughter is 3. We always shower her in gifts too, we tell her they are for being strong, supportive, and understanding while her siblings are going through things like this. After all as a family we all go through hard times when one of us goes through a hard time... but then she asks when my daughter will need surgery again, almost like she's looking forward to it or something. I don't know it's very complicated.

    Comment by ashleyaction (original poster) at 12:42 PM on Jan. 11, 2011

  • and by her I meant 4 Y/O SD.

    Comment by ashleyaction (original poster) at 12:42 PM on Jan. 11, 2011

  • Is it really fair for her to have to be "strong, supportive and understanding". It is not her fault her step siblings have disablities and this is something that should have been though about BEFORE you married her dad. Why should she have to take the back seat she is just as much a precious child as they are. When your dd needs surgery, who watches her. Maybe that person gives her more attention. Children at this age are not concerned with others (for the most part) and you can't expect them to be. I have to wonder where her mother is that someone thought it would be better for her to be a second class child in your family then to be with her mother. Is her mother around?

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:03 PM on Jan. 11, 2011

  • WOW anon, obviously I must be treating her like she's "second class", I bet you can tell by the way I am going to great concious lengths to make sure she is treated equally and fairly. Pardon me for also trying to instill morals and empathy. I shower her with gifts for a different reason because I love her and I don't want her to feel any less special, I am proud that she is a member of our family - and yes I think it affects her when the sister she's known and been close to for half her life is sick. For your info she stays with her grandmother aunt and father when her sister needs more of my attention, but I always recoop that time with her when I become available. YES her BIO mother is around too, but only when it's convenient. A second class child, eh? What if she were their bio sibling, would that make it any less heinous for her to have to deal with her family's problems, if she were born into them? wow!

    Comment by ashleyaction (original poster) at 2:52 PM on Jan. 12, 2011

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