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Special Ed Children and Siblings

By Jodie Lynn


I have three beautiful children. One of them is in special education. The other two have always been thoughtful of their younger brother. However, recently, they seem to have all of a sudden hit a brick wall in terms of patience and have started with mean little slurs. Sometimes, I also hear their friends making rude remarks and jokes. How is the best way to handle this?


My daughter was in special education and hated the fact that she was labeled as being different. All she ever wanted to be was an "everyday" kid and be treated as one. Things got worse once she hit fifth grade when kids become much more aware that she thought and reacted much slower than most. By the time middle school rolled around, she became much more withdrawn and depressed. The best thing we ever did was to make the decision to home school her. Building her self-confidence back up was a long, hard road. After about two years she was once again happy. It is a big decision, but one that worked well for our family. If you can't get your other two kids to show empathy and respect for your son, perhaps you might consider doing the same. - Sam Elliott in Little Rock, AR


Once children get to be a certain age, they allow social acceptance and standards to take over much of their opinions. For many, it's more important to them to try to fit in with their peers than to sometimes stand up for what they probably know to be the right thing to do. Even though they still love and care for their brother in their hearts, he is now considered an embarrassment because he is different, especially if their friends are giving them a hard time about the situation. Try to remind them that he loves them unconditionally and maybe point it out when you have the opportunity. Show them that their brother still loves them while they are down in the dumps or after they've made a mistake. Point out that no one is perfect and each one of us encounters high and lows in our daily lives, yet we are still the same person we were yesterday, despite our challenges. Show them patience and kindness and continue to be a good role model for them to emulate. Once they realize that it's family and true friends that can be counted on for the warm feelings we all need, no matter what, they will rethink their outward behavior toward not only their brother but hopefully for anyone they encounter with some type of special circumstances.

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© Jodie Lynn
Jodie Lynn is an award-winning internationally syndicated family/health columnist and radio personality. Her syndicated column Parent to Parent has been successful for over 10 years and appears in newspapers, magazines, newsletters and throughout the Internet. She is a regular contributor to several sites including,,,,, and Lynn has written four books and contributed to three others, one of which was on Oprah and has appeared on NBC in a three month parenting segment. Her latest books are "Mom CEO (Chief Everything Officer) - Having, Doing and Surviving It All!" (June 2006) and "Syndication Secrets - What No One Will Tell You!" (March 2006).
Please visit for details on her new radio talk show, Inside Parenting Success.


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