When an older sibling goes off to college, it can be a stressful time for the entire family. With your brother or sister away, your family dynamic probably has changed a little. You might have been given additional responsibilities or your parents’ expectations of you may be different. On top of all that, you’re probably missing your older sibling’s leadership and protection. Here are a few things that you can do to get through this trying time:
• Pray. Never underestimate the power of prayer! The Holy Spirit is your comforter so ask Him for help during this hard time.
• Allow yourself to adjust. It’s okay to feel sad; it’s a natural response. Your sibling has probably been a source of security and stability for all of your life and his/her absence from home is new to you. This sadness might be around for a little while AND THAT’S OKAY! You’ll need some time to adjust to this new situation. However, if your sadness becomes overwhelming to the point that you’re feeling extremely depressed for long periods of time or you’re thinking about hurting yourself, then you should seek guidance from a responsible adult IMMEDIATELY.
• Schedule some quality time. Remember, your sibling is temporarily away from home but s(he)’s not gone forever! Although your sister or brother may not be home every day, keep in mind that s(he) is only a call or email away. When you’re missing your big brother give him a call or plan a visit. Or you could coordinate with your amazing big sister to predetermine a standard day and time for your weekly chat. Also, don’t forget to make the best out of holidays and school vacations by spending some time with your big brother or sister when s(he) is home.
• Keep yourself occupied. While you’re adjusting to life with your sibling away, you may feel a little lonely at times. To combat this loneliness, you may want to get involved with new activities. This could be anything from joining a new club at school to volunteering for a local mission. It can be as simple as deciding to read a certain number of books per week to something more complex like training for a marathon. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as you’re occupying your time with activities that you enjoy!
• Enjoy your new role! The family dynamic may have changed slightly but you should make it a point to enjoy your new role. Maybe you’re now the eldest sibling at home; if that’s the case, your younger siblings are probably looking up to you as the big sister. Or maybe you’re now the only child left who lives at home full time. Although this may mean more responsibility, it could also mean more privileges. As your parents become more aware of how responsible you are, you might be surprised at the additional liberties that they permit to you. So take a moment to assess your new role and embrace it!
Anyone else have any suggestions?