Although it is a syndrome, there is nothing clinical about it. Empty nest syndrome is something that all parents face sooner or later. When children are all grown up, ready to leave their parent’s homes, the transition from organizing their lives to being no more than spectators is not easy.
Understand empty nest syndrome
Empty nesters experience genuine feelings of loss and sadness when their last child leaves the home of their parents. It is sort of difficult to understand because we spend years preparing our kids for adulthood. When we finally succeed, and they are ready to go, we wish we could hold them back just a bit longer.
There are also those mixed feelings of pride for what we have achieved and wishing they were not entirely as independent as they are. Many parents, mothers mainly, focus their daily lives on their children for 20 or more years. When the responsibility is suddenly removed, the loss could be traumatic. Those who have only one child might find it even more difficult.
The good and bad about adult children moving on
According to recent studies, reduced responsibilities and less work open up a whole new world for parents. With fewer family conflicts and a lot of time, parents can reconnect. They can rekindle interests that were put on the back burner for years.
According to past research, parents had more problems coping with empty nest syndrome. The sense of loss was profound enough to make empty nesters vulnerable to marital conflicts, depression, identity crisis and even alcoholism.
How to cope with empty nest syndrome
Remember that you spent years preparing your child for this, so see it as a positive. Focus on the last bit of help you can provide to help your child set up an independent life.
Continue to be a part of your child’s life, but without interfering. Maintain contact through phone calls, visits, video chats, texts and emails.
Talk to others who are in the same boat. Share your feelings, and if you struggle to cope, consult a mental health provider or your doctor.
Make the most of the extra time you have and take on new challenges and opportunities.
Remember this Ann Landers quote: “It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings.”