Empty Nest Syndrome
Friday, July 28, 2023
If your child is a member of the class of 2024, full speed ahead is the only speed they go. They’re with their friends at every party, movie, game, concert and more. And even though you’d love to spend some time with them, you’re not fighting them on this because they’re “never going to see these friends again after senior year.”
Since when do you hesitate to say no?
What is happening to you?
Chances are you’re in the early stages of Empty Nest Syndrome, the adjustment period parents go through when their last child leaves the nest. It affects both men and women. Some parents try to adjust early while others hope for business as usual all year. Some don’t feel the full brunt until after the child has moved out. Most people report feeling sad. Some are angry. Others are thrilled. It’s complicated.
Here are some common symptoms of empty nest syndrome:
Loss of purpose. You miss the structure and the timetable of parenting. What are you going to do with all this free time?
Loss of control. You’re wondering if your child is safe and taking care of themself. It can be hard to let them figure it out.
Loneliness. You miss your child’s companionship.
Emotional distress. You might find yourself sobbing in your vehicle after the final goodbye. It’s a common reaction. Pat yourself on the back for reaching your vehicle.
How you feel when the child that qualifies you to join the empty nest club leaves depends on many factors. If you’re married, is your marriage stable? Were you a stay-at-home parent? How are your finances? Are you employed, and is it fulfilling work? Decide what you want in life. The more balance you can create in your life before your nest empties, the more successful the transition.
The one tip to follow
Stay connected. Keep in touch. Say “you’ve got this” often. Send texts or cards to let them know you’re thinking of them. Don’t expect to hear from them daily, or even weekly. Trust that absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
Most importantly, if you find yourself struggling with this transition, you’re not the only one. Reach out to a counselor for support and strategies to manage this new phase of life.
P.S. You’ve got this.
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