How to Help a Child Cope with an Older Sibling Going to College
College application process is a nightmare for almost all high school students and their parents, as they have to go though many challenges – research, tutoring, exams, resume and application essay writing, submitting application forms, long days of waiting and acceptance. Both juniors and seniors are constantly under the pressure during these two years of high school, but this way of things is normal, you are neither the first nor the last one who faces such problems. Much more important thing is to find the way student and his/her parents can solve them, and in this case don’t forget about younger siblings too, because they need attention as well as their elder brothers and sisters.
Quite often, but not always, it happens that parents are mainly focused on the older child and don’t spend enough time with the younger one. We emphasize that such situation take place not in every family, but it exists. Parents are prone to not recognize how exhausting these two years may be for younger children. Feelings of loneliness, resentment, disappointment and even envy may live in the heart of younger siblings. Children who struggle with depression, stress, anxiety are in the group of risk, and it’s extremely important for adults not to miss the right moment and help the child. You are a parent, so you share a responsibility for every one you gave birth to and must keep balance.
Relationships between brothers and sisters. How is it?
No matter what relationships were between siblings and how they had behaved before the older sibling left parents’ house, there is a special connection among brothers and sisters. Sibling bickering (whether it takes place in the family or not) is one of many typical ways of behaviour, it shows how close children are, and parents should remember about it. If the siblings live together, have everyday contacts, and then at one moment they become separated from each other by a big distance, it will bring some affect. Every of the siblings should be supported in a proper way. Help the older one to get used to new and dynamic lifestyle and explain some benefits and positive sides of sibling’s absence to the younger one. Besides, discuss with children all possible ways of keeping in touch – phone and video calls, texting, family vacations and so on. The main idea is to show that they can always share their thoughts and feelings with each other wherever they are.
There is also one point we should talk about – the adaptation period. For younger children it is quite unusual to experience being at the centre of attention when the older siblings are getting a degree at college. Parents should let their child get accustomed to new atmosphere in the house. Don’t be too persistent, otherwise it may cause discomfort and be considered as an invasion of privacy, excessive discipline, nagging and grumbling. Control your emotions and feeling about the older child in order to avoid situations when your younger one could feel he or she is less valued and less loved.
The younger children always compare themselves with the older ones, and such comparisons are also the ground on which a lot of complexes and fears grow. Observing the experience of older brothers or/and sisters the younger children are afraid of not being so successful and disappointing parents. Somebody fears that he or she won’t enter the university, somebody can’t decide go to college or not. Understanding all these facts parents will be able to find the best approach to every child, meet their social and emotional needs and reassure them that mother and father will help to make a right choice when the time comes. Don’t hurry, be patient, respect the personal territory of your children and give them some space to understand their feelings.