Q: I’m a thirteen-year-old girl. Last year my sister, who is sixteen, went away to boarding academy. Before she went away, we were extremely close. But now when she comes home during breaks it seems as if she doesn’t want to do anything with me. Do you have any suggestions?
A: It’s great that you and your sister had such a special relationship. The not-so-great part is having to deal with the natural changes that come as a result of her going away to school. Here are a few ideas for keeping your friendship strong:
Visit her school. Some boarding schools hold special events to which students can invite their younger brothers and sisters. Even if her school doesn’t host such events, ask if it’s OK for you to spend a weekend with her (make sure she first gets permission from the dean).
Write often. Include in your letters pictures of things that are happening back home.
Focus on the things you share in common. For example, if both of you are into music, you could send her some links to songs that you know she’ll enjoy.
Share news. When something great (or not so great) happens in your life, let your sister be the first to know.
Be open to new relationships. As you both grow and move on to new experiences in life, you’ll meet new and different people. Nobody will ever take the place of your sister, but it would make her happy to know that you’re meeting and making other good friends.