HomeOpinionBest coping strategies when your sibling leaves for college

Best coping strategies when your sibling leaves for college

Published June 5, 2024


Growing up my entire life with my older sister, Scarlett, I always had someone to talk to, play games with and fight with. The transition to being the only kid at home, while my sister was 327 miles away in Madison, Wisconsin, was difficult. After a year of navigating the struggles of becoming a part-time only child, I have found what works best to keep in touch with my sister, while also taking advantage of the positive aspects of my situation. 

As this year’s graduates go on to their next endeavors, it’s important for all younger siblings to acknowledge the sadness of this change, but realize how one can adjust and benefit from the circumstances. 

One way to stay in touch despite the distance is Facetime. Although the platform of communication is sometimes overlooked, being able to see each other, even over a video camera, can make it feel less weird being apart. Scheduling time to talk is important when navigating your sibling’s new schedule and possible time difference. With a two-hour time difference from where I am and my sister in Wisconsin, we had to figure out how to make time for each other. My sister and I also text, call and use social media platforms like Snapchat to talk as much as we can.

You have to understand that your parents are also having a life changing experience as one of their children is entering adulthood and beginning a new chapter of their life. It can feel like a lot of pressure to be the only one your parents are in charge of now. If you are in a similar situation, it’s necessary to enjoy the time you have with your parents. Even though it may seem crazy, my sister says she misses our parents’ annoying affection when she is at college. My mom and dad both enjoy being outdoors, which I try to keep in mind when spending more time with my parents and finding things to do that we all enjoy.

Another positive aspect to your sibling moving out is the extra space. For some, there will be a whole extra room by next fall, and there are countless ideas for things to do with the additional space. Some practical and useful ideas include creating a guest room, lounge room, home office or gym, although my personal favorites would be making an art studio, home theater or reading room.

Keep in mind, the new space is not only physical. Without having someone to fight with night and day, it’s going to be a little lonely. From my personal experience, my sister and I would bicker over something at least once a day. Whether it be me borrowing her clothes, needing a ride, eating her food or saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, we always had something that we could argue about. I recommend picking fights with your closest friends to make the time go by faster before your sibling comes home for their next break. If you are feeling bored in everyday activities and want something to do that reminds you of your brother or sister, use some of your younger sibling tactics to annoy your friends. 

Remember to enjoy the new alone time, but maybe don’t tell your siblings how much you may love it.


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