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confessions of a sibling

WELCOME Siblings!confessions of a sibling

The truth about being a sibling of someone with a disability is that it can be a very confusing place to be. You are in a position where you are supposed to be just a sibling, but you often find yourself having to be a parent/caregiver and that can cause you to experience a sea of emotions and like any sea, there are ebbs and flows. Many times, when seeking help/advice relating to my sister, I found that most resources focused on helping parents, almost as if they totally forgot that siblings often become caregivers. Well siblings, here at HappyDowns we know that in addition to the parents, you too go through your own stuff and thus, need all the help and advice you can get.

This website is fashioned in such a way that you can focus on things solely relating to siblings if you choose. Read about other siblings’ experiences and share your own journey in the Comments section. Let us know what is helpful to you and you can even suggest topics that you want us to speak on. If you just want to vent…go ahead…this is a safe space for you to do so. Just know that we at HappyDowns acknowledge you and acknowledge the fact that having a loved one with DS impacts you as well, and we want to help you navigate your reality as best as possible. For those interested in advocacy, we have such posts, so check that out here.

Sibs, go ahead and explore HappyDowns: you can click on Siblings in the Main Menu. P.S. Click here to explore what parents go throughthis might give you some insight and help you to better understand things from their side.

I sincerely hope you will find HappyDowns to be helpful in your journey with your loved one.



  1. Thanks for your invitation. I’m not a sibling to someone with Downs Syndrome, but my middle brother had epilepsy as a child and nearly died a few times because of it. Because of this my elder brother and I felt that my parents always treated my epileptic brother with kid gloves. We felt he was spoilt and allowed to be lazy while we picked up all the slack. So I guess we were pretty resentful when we were younger and I would imagine siblings to children with other disabilities feel the same way. Now that I’m a parent myself, I have much more understanding of the situation. Great work that you are doing with this site. Meaningful work. God’s work. Be blessed.

    1. Hi Lauren,

      Thank you so much for visiting HappyDowns. Yes indeed, feelings of resentment, believing our parents ignored us, feeling that our families go way too easy on our siblings with disabilities are very real feelings being experienced by many siblings. But as you mentioned, as we get older there are some things that are viewed in a different light as we become parents. However, some feelings don’t go away for some siblings, e.g. the resentment…you just learn to deal with it. Whilst for others, they move from experiencing resentment when they were kids to now, being adults, experiencing fear and worry about their sibling’s future.

      Whatever it is that we’re feeling, we have to make sure that we recognise it and deal with it in a healthy manner, to ensure that we ward off things like depression.

      Lauren, please feel free to come back and visit us anytime that you feel like talking or you just want to share one of your stories with us. We look forward to hearing from you again.

      Take care!

  2. Hi Alicia, Its nice that you give a space where one can talk about the experiences people had with family members with down syndrome. My aunt has DS and I remember one day my grandma told me how hard it was when caring for her when she was little, the seizures, the falls, eating patterns. My aunt is 30 y/o and she is awesome, she a happy person and i love her. But I see the worry within the family wondering what is her future going to be like, as who is going to care for her when she is older. So its hard.
    But thank you for giving me the chance to share some of my thought about it.
    Have a good day 🙂

    1. Hello Arlet,

      Whenever you feel like sharing your thoughts, please know you are most welcomed here.

      I am happy to hear that you love your aunt and that she has a happy life. I definitely know the worry that your grandma speaks about. I wish I could somehow make it so that all families who have loved ones with disabilities would not have to worry about their loved one’s futures, but unfortunately our societies have not gotten to a place where families can rest assure that their loved ones will be ok when they are gone. But, for now, I just encourage each family to seriously come together and make a plan from as early as possible and continuously improve upon that plan…all the while, advocating for change in society. Change is possible.

      Thanks again for stopping by and we look forward to you coming back to visit us at HappyDowns.

      Take care and please give your aunt a big hug for me.

  3. This is a very good idea. There are so many siblings out there who have a lot of pressure on them to be a caregiver to their brother or sister. My son’s friend has a brother with autism and also a brain injury from birth. He has had a lot of issues dealing with his brother and has coped better as he has gotten older. The family has worked hard at keeping things relatively normal for him but geez it’s tough. He has the added pressure of parental expectations of him being the caregiver in the future.

    1. Hello Bec,

      It is indeed tough being a sibling of someone with a disability. I am happy to hear that this young man is learning to cope better has he gets older. Feel free to tell him about HappyDowns, especially our section where we discuss sibling issues/concerns and visit us again soon.

      Take care!

  4. I personally don’t have a sibling with a disability but I can only imagine that it is a tuff position to be in. I’m glad you’ve allowed a safe place for people who have siblings with disabilities to vent. I would like to encourage all those with this challenge to keep your head up and know that you are not alone and if your sibling could convey how much they really appreciate you and your efforts to help them they would.

    1. Hi Jaime,

      Thank you so much for the encouragement. I do hope siblings will feel free to use this safe place to express themselves.

      Thanks for stopping by HappyDowns.

      Take care

  5. Hi Alicia – I am so happy to have found your site through this article. I don’t know where in the world you are, but I am in San Diego, CA. Until I became a stay-at-home mom, I worked in a research clinic at the University of California San Diego that studied adults with Down syndrome to understand how their brain ages since Alzheimer’s disease is so prevalent for the elderly with DS. I am happy to share some resources with you if it would be helpful. I must mention that Dr. Brian Skotko, a geneticist in Massachusetts has a sister with DS and has written some books you might appreciate including Fasten Your Seatbelt and Common Threads.
    What a service your site is! Everyone needs to learn about the gifts offered by those with DS. Dance, anyone???

    1. Hello Michelle,

      I live on the beautiful island of Jamaica. I am so at happy that you found HappyDowns. I will definitely be reading Dr. Skotko’s books…thank you so much for suggesting them.

      I would love to hear more from you. Please contact me at alicia@happydowns.com (you can just click the envelope icon at the top right hand section of the website) or you can contact me through Google Plus (that icon is right beside the email icon).

      Looking forward to hearing from you.


  6. Although, I do not fall into this category its an eye opener to the challenges of siblings. I have a friend that has a sibling with DS and I always ragged him for being such a baby. I never took into consideration the additional stress he was under including the older brother who always is very protective of his sister. Although growing up she was just one of us hanging out. I owe him an apology and he is a great big brother! I think we can all learn here, thank you!

    1. Hi Ray,

      Thank you so much for your kind words. It is indeed amazing how sometimes we really don’t know what another person is truly going through. Please feel free to tell your friend about HappyDowns and I wish him all the best. I bet he is a terrific brother.

      Thank you Ray for stopping by HappyDowns. Feel free to stop by anytime.

      Take care.

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