“Aunt Blabby”: A Helpful Exercise for Sibs
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By Derenda Timmons Schubert, Ph.D.
Pacific Northwest Children's Services
Waverly Children's Home
3550 SE Woodward Avenue
Portland, OR 97202

I would like to introduce parents and siblings to a favorite activity we do during our Sibshop on Saturdays. The activity is called "Aunt Blabby." "Aunt Blabby" was created by the team of Donald Meyer and Patricia Vadasy of the National Association of Sibling Programs (NASP), The Sibling Support Project, Seattle, Washington. They are the creative team that developed Sibshops.

Aunt Blabbly is introduced to siblings by having them answer letters written by "other siblings" and offer advice to Aunt Blabby about how she could advise the children. While the letters may be put together by a ghostwriter, the issues presented are concerns the children have shared in my many encounters with siblings. When you feel stuck about how to address a particular issue, you could write a "Dear Aunt Blabby" letter to your child or the child could write one for the parents to read. After a Sibshop, many of the children have taken home Aunt Blabby letters to share with their parents. Here are a few examples:

Dear Aunt Blabby,
I have a problem maybe you could help me with. Just because my brother has a disability and I don't, my parents expect me to be a SUPERKID. I have to get perfect grades in school. Does this seem fair to you? What can I do?
Signed, I'm no Superkid from Sherwood

Dear Aunt Blabby,
Is it OK to tease your sister? I mean, I tease my other brothers and sister, but when I tease my "special " sister, my grandma yells at me. I'm not trying to be mean or anything - it's just teasing. Is it OK or not?
Signed, From To Tease or not To Tease from Tigard

Dear Aunt Blabby,
The kids on the bus make fun of my brother. I think they are mean, but I'm afraid that if I don't go along with them, they won't be my friends. I feel sad and mad at the same time. Am I normal? What should I do?
Signed, Confused in Corvallis

Dear Aunt Blabby,
Sometimes people say that I am a special person because my sister has a disability, and I'm nice to her. Don't they think I should be nice? I'm nice to her because she is my sister, and I love her not because she has a disability. I get tired of all of the fuss. We're just a normal family. How can I politely tell them that their compliment is nice, but we're a regular family?
Yours Truly, Just a nice guy in Portland

Dear Aunt Blabby,
My sister needs a lot of help from my mom and dad. I know they don't mean it, but I feel ignored. How can I tell my parents without hurting anyone's feelings? I miss my parents.
Sincerely, The invisible man