Dear Harlan: I’m going to college in the fall and I don’t want to leave my little brother. My parents fight all the time and take it out on the child who is closest in proximity. I’ve been their target. Now that I’m going to be moving away from home, he’s going to be the one to take it all. He’s starting high school this year, and I’m worried about him. I thought about staying at home so he wouldn’t be alone, but I got a scholarship at a great school. I’m a very long car ride from home. I want to know what I can do to help him. He says he’ll be fine, but I know he’s going to miss me. I mentioned something to my mom. She told me I’m wrong and changed the subject. Yeah, good talk. What can I do to help him?
— Sad Sibling
Dear Sad Sibling: You’re an incredible brother. He’ll get through it. He just needs a plan. Teach him about people, places and patience. Here’s how it works. He needs three places, five people and a timeline to navigate change. Encourage him to find places where he can sweat, play, pray, live, learn, lead, love and work. Suggest he find people who will support and guide him — this includes YOU, friends, coaches, spiritual leaders, counselors, teachers, therapist, etc. Make sure he gives himself time to get comfortable with the uncomfortable while finding his people and places. Do this together. You can find your people and places in college, and he can do it in high school. Should your parents ever target him, remind him how you get through it. Tell him he can always reach out to you when he needs you. Come up with a bro code he can text you so you know when it’s urgent. Connect with him on social media, call and plan a time when he can visit you at school. Yes, this is hard, but he will figure out how to get through it. And it will be easier with you in his corner.