Growing Up With Siblings: When Siblings Go Away

Growing up with siblings is special and unique. No sibling relationship is alike. Even in a large family in which one person could have three or four siblings, each sibling will have a different relationship with the other because we all bring out certain traits in each other! That’s what makes the relationship of siblings so interesting, complex and special.

There are a variety of factors that affect the relationship two siblings may have with each other like:

  • Birth order
  • Twin, Triplet, and More Multiple Number of Siblings
  • Stepsiblings
  • Years between the siblings—from close in age to large age gaps
  • All girls, all boys or mixed genders
  • Similar interests/dissimilar interests
  • Similar personalities/dissimilar personalities
  • And more!

Because the relationship of siblings can be so tender and also, tumultuous, it makes it all the more tough and bittersweet when a sister or brother in army heads off for training or deployment…when a brother or sister leaving for college packs up and goes.

What Happens To The Family When A Sister Leaving For College Says Goodbye?

When a sibling leaves to move out, go to college or head out for military service, the family dynamic in the home changes. The family relationships with the sibling changes—not usually for the worst so don’t fret! —but it matures.

Your children at home miss the sibling who is gone. They do their best to form a new relationship of sorts when this sibling heads out into the “real world,” and also to cope and grieve with the loss of sister or brother from the homestead.

And while that brother in army deployment or training may not want to admit how much he misses his family, especially those pesky younger siblings, it is a huge adjustment for the sister or brother who is learning to be an adult out in the world.

While a brother or sister in active military deployment is facing potentially scary and dangerous scenarios—a much different scenario than the sister who’s in college, there’s an empty space between the siblings.

How can you help ease the heartache of missing a loved sibling?

Here are a few ways how:

  • Skype or Facetime: This beats a phone call anytime! Seeing each other’s faces is more personal and makes you feel like you’re with the person
  • Old-fashioned letters: Even little ones with inventive spelling can send a card or letter to a big brother in college or the army!
  • Personalized doll: A recordable photo doll that has a picture of a beloved sibling and even a little recorded message from big sister or brother can help the little ones missing the sibling who is away. It’s like getting a hug away from that sibling he or she loves. And of course, the same can work for the big army member or college freshman. A doll resembling a little sister or brother can help even the oldest kids and adults feel better while making roots away from home.
  • Making moments home big: When that sister or brother returns from being away, making special celebrations and moments for the time she or he is back is also a nice way to cope. It will give the whole family something to look forward to.

No matter what, when a sibling heads out into the real world it can be very sad, but just because a brother or sister grows up, it doesn’t mean that he or she grows away from the family!