“I’m worried my daughter won’t cope alone at uni”

I have four children, a boy, a girl and twins, also a boy and a girl. My eldest two have done well and are both working. The twins have always been a pleasure to bring up, but now that they are 18 I worry. They are going to different universities in September and although I know my son will thrive as he makes friends easily, I am worried about his sister. Although she says she will be OK on her own, she has always depended on him for a social life and been clingier than the others. I do see that this could be an opportunity for her to stand on her own feet, but I can’t help worrying, and their leaving is going to be a bigger wrench for me than it should be. Louise

Denise says:

It’s very easy to see twins as two halves of a whole. Parents of four children will often refer to them as, “David and Mary and the twins”, as though they were talking about three children, not four. But a twin is a person in their own right. Your daughter got a place at university on her own merit. She is looking forward to going and feels confident. Please don’t let your own doubts cloud that confidence. Of course she will miss her brother. There will always be a special bond between them. But this is her chance to come into her own, to make new friends and succeed as a person in her own right. Don’t look on this as a tearing apart but rather as a wonderful opportunity for them both. I suspect that, as your last children spread their wings, you are getting ‘empty nest’ syndrome and if you are, I sympathise. I had it badly when my last two left home. I really suffered until I realised that they would be coming home some weekends, bringing their dirty washing and clearing out the fridge. And, after the first few hectic days of settling in, keeping in regular touch by phone. You won’t lose them because we never lose our children. The bonds can withstand separation and, as they mature, they become our friends as well as our offspring. Take pride in having brought four young adults to the moment when they can survive in the outside world, and if you still have problems, Family Lives (familylives.org.uk) will be there to offer you advice and support.

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