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Health issues and your family

Mother and daughter talking to a doctor.

During both good and bad times, your family can be your greatest source of strength and support. But having a chronic illness or disability can also be a source of stress in your family. They may be worried about you and sad that you are ill. They may also be confused about how best to meet your needs and maybe even seem to resent the tasks they have to do for you. All of these emotions are normal, and none of them are your fault.

Some parents may be more protective of girls with disabilities and illnesses, and slower to understand that you are growing up. You can help your family deal with your illness or disability by understanding what each person may be feeling and helping out where you can, without overdoing it.

There are two important things you can do to help your family out:

Read more tips for getting along with your parents, grandparents, or guardians.
  1. Talk it over. Talking about problems as they come up usually helps everyone. Tell your family about your needs and worries. And they can do the same for you. Usually, together you can work out solutions to any problem.
  2. Get involved. Find out what chores you can do around the house. Also, take an active role in your medical care. For instance, you can help your parents keep track of your medicines and make your own doctor’s appointments. Find out more about what you can do to get involved!

Getting along with your brothers and sisters arrow top

Brothers and sisters can be your closest friends. But they also can give you a hard time. Even if they can be a pain, that doesn’t mean your brothers and sisters don’t love you and care about you. It is normal for them to have mixed emotions about your illness or disability. They may feel jealous about the attention you get or may worry about you. Talking with your brothers and sisters about their feelings and yours can help "clear the air." It can also bring you closer together.

Here are some helpful sibling strategies:

  1. Think about their feelings. Let your sisters and brothers know that you are trying to see their side of things. In turn, they may try to be more accepting of your needs and feelings.
  2. Tell them as much as you can about your illness or disability. Talking to your brothers and sisters about your illness or disability may help to get rid of any fears that they may have about it. It can also make them feel more involved, and it will be easier for them to support you.
  3. Ask them to visit you in the hospital or go with you to your doctor appointments. Your brothers and sisters might understand your illness or disability better if your doctor explains it to them. Once they understand what you're going through, they can support you while you're at the doctor's office or the hospital.

Read more tips for getting along with your sisters and brothers.


Content last reviewed February 16, 2011
Page last updated October 31, 2013