Childhood Cancer

Your Child in the Hospital

Chapter 13: Siblings

“Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero.”

— Marc Brown

A CHILD’S HOSPITALIZATION TOUCHES all members of the family, especially siblings. Even a short-term hospital stay can disrupt a sibling’s sense of security and routine. An illness or injury in the family can create an array of conflicting emotions in siblings. They worry about their ill brother or sister yet might resent the turmoil in their family. They may feel jealous if gifts and attention are showered on the sick child and then feel guilty for having these emotions.

Many problems can be prevented by preparing siblings just like you do the child who will be hospitalized. Reading books together and taking them on the hospital tour will help give them a better understanding of why their brother or sister needs to go to the hospital. These activities also can spur discussion and give you a chance to clear up any misconceptions or worries your healthy children have.