Sibling Separation: When Leaving For College Means Leaving Them Behind

One of the most difficult aspects of leaving for college is leaving your family behind–especially your siblings who will be hanging around home for a bit longer. For some, this means leaving a person just a year or two younger than you who has practically been your best friend growing up. For others, this might mean leaving a much younger brother or sister who still has a lot of growing up you feel you may miss out on. If you’re concerned about the relationship you have with your siblings as you enter the life of a college student, check out these tips on how to preserve that special sibling connection!

Establish a Talking Plan:

Come up with a time and method for continuing to talk with your siblings on a regular basis as opposed to calling home once a week and having Mom pass the phone on down. With time set aside to focus on your siblings, you can continue to share the stories you may not want to share in front of Mom and Dad. You’ll also make your sibling feel special, and give them the confidence that you going away to school doesn’t change the closeness of your relationship. Your talking plan could be Skyping a few nights a week, tons of texting and emails, a secret code while on the phone, or even hand written letters!

Set the Dates:

Before you leave for college, come up with a few weekends or holidays you’ll make it home to see your siblings. You could even have fun the weeks prior by making plans for what you’ll do when you see one another. This will give your siblings something to look forward to, and a concrete idea of when they’ll be seeing you again.

Write your Advice:

Despite how often you’ll talk to your siblings while you’re away from college, you both may experience circumstances in which you would like to ask your sibling for their opinion, but are unable to. Before you leave, write your sibling a letter of advice regarding various situations, and have them do the same. It can be silly advice, like what to do when you split your pants at a party, serious advice, like how to handle an argument between your parents, or a combination of the two! This will give both of you something to look at in times of unsureness.

Welcome Them:

Find time to bring your siblings to your school. Show them around, take them to dinner, introduce them to your friends, and open their eyes to what your life is like on campus. If your school has a siblings weekend filled with fun activities planned for young brothers and sisters, invite them to come. Whether your sibling is just a year or two younger, or a decade younger, college is something they haven’t experienced yet and are probably curious about. They will also be comforted by having a picture in their minds for what your life is like.

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