How to Cope with Empty Nest Syndrome
Empty Nest Syndrome can be a bittersweet experience for some parents, but it can also be the beginning of a new life.
The Empty Nest Syndrome refers to a feeling of loss and emptiness that some parents experience when their children leave the family home. In this article, we’ll show you how to cope with this situation in the best way possible.
What is Empty Nest Syndrome?
This syndrome can happen to parents when their children grow and leave the family home. It’s a feeling of sadness and emptiness, and sometimes it can lead to depression. Mothers are more likely to suffer this syndrome, although it hasn’t been defined as a clinical disorder yet.
Psychotherapist and social worker, Amy Morin, explains that parents suffering from the syndrome can experience a deep emptiness in their lives. They can feel a little lost. This syndrome can also affect their children’s lives, interfering with their independence and self-determination.
Symptoms and origins
According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), one of the most common causes of Empty Nest Syndrome is a conflictive parent-child relationship. When parents and children have a bad relationship, this syndrome can have even worse consequences.
Symptoms of Empty Nest Syndrome, according to the APA, can include the following:
- Feeling empty.
5 ways to cope with Empty Nest Syndrome
1. Keep in touch
In this globalized world, families can keep in touch wherever they are. Nowadays it’s even easier to stay in touch through all the different apps available today.
2. Establish a daily routine
Everybody has their own life. If your child is about to move out, you can establish a schedule to stay in touch. Respect each other’s time and commit to staying in touch.
3. Motivate yourself and look for new challenges
Being a parent is one of the hardest things in life. If you want to feel whole again, be on the lookout for new challenges and adventures. For example, go back to school, learn to play a new instrument, etc.
4. Keep yourself busy
Children become a big part of your life. Children determine their parents’ lifestyle and daily routines. Once children leave the family, parents can start feeling lonely.
Understand what you need and find new things to do. Keep yourself busy, go to the gym, become a part of your community, try to stay in touch with your friends.
5. Spend time with your partner
Parents have a new chance to rekindle their relationship. Once children leave the family home, parents can use this alone time to spend more time together. For example, enjoy life as a couple, plan date nights or trips – just something for the two of you.
Redefine your role as a parent
You’ll still be a parent, even if your children become more independent. Now, just make sure to be present when your kids need you. Let your children know that their parents are always there for them.
“Your job is to be the parent your child needs, given the particulars of his or her own life and nature.”
– Ayelet Waldman –