Dear Carol

"Dear Carol, I get really homesick whenever I have sleepovers"

Dear Carol,

I’m 12 years old, and whenever I have sleepovers, I usually get homesick. Sometimes I even need to go home. I feel like I’m too old to be feeling homesick. When my friends ask me to have a sleepover or go to a slumber party, I often say that I’m busy. When I say yes, everything usually goes well, but I get super nervous. One of my friends invited me to go to a two-week sleepaway camp this summer. My parents want me to go, and I don’t want to disappoint anybody, but I’ve never been away from home for longer than three days.

- Homesick

Dear Homesick,

At any age, it’s completely normal to miss home. But it’s also understandable to want to enjoy all the exciting things life has to offer, like slumber parties and sleepaway camp. The hard part is that anxiety breeds anxiety. If you’re thinking, “I really hope I don’t get homesick,” it’s harder to live in the moment, relax and be present with your friends...which might make you feel, ugh, more homesick. Before you commit to any summer plans, can you start with some more frequent sleepovers at a place you feel comfortable? Maybe it’s with Grandma or your neighbor or your BFF. (If you can’t think of a place that doesn’t make you worry, it’s time to talk it out with a trusted adult.) As you acknowledge the fear, also focus on the fun. (Makeovers! Movies! Raiding the fridge!) You may find that the homesick feelings start to fade or that you’re OK handling them when they arise. Build your courage and confidence at a pace that works for you. Camp can always happen next year.

Carol Weston is the author of 16 books. The latest is Speed of Life, about a teen girl who writes to an advice columnist. Check out for more.

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by GL | 4/27/2024