The Empty Nest: Saying Goodbye to Your Children

By Charisse Miller
mom and daughter

Being a parent is a lifelong challenge. Somehow, no matter how old our parents get, they still have this urge to treat their kids like the infants they once were. Parenthood is never easy. And once you become a parent, you are bound by your parental responsibilities for the rest of your life.

Parents have the privilege to witness their kids grow into fully functioning adults. While raising children seems like a never-ending journey of fluctuating emotions, this does not last forever. Children grow up, and they will explore the world without the help of their parents.

The Empty Nest

As their children are trying to find their way in life, parents are often left at home. It may be a relief for parents to think about having their kids move out of their homes. This means they no longer have to attend to their needs all the time. Fewer people at home means fewer things to worry about, after all.

But parents of kids who have now left home, or better known as empty nesters, often fall into a complicated emotional state. This is called the Empty Nest syndrome. This happens when all the children inside a household have grown up and left home to start their lives independently.

When this happens, parents feel sad and lonely about their child leaving home. They feel as though they have lost something. Although parents love to see their children flourish, it still stings to see their children leave. While this syndrome is not a medical diagnosis, it can still be common among parents.

Should Parents Be Worried?

Generally, this is not a cause for concern for some parents. This is a normal response to loss. But there are some points that empty nesters need to know about the situation they are in.

They will feel sad and lonely. They may even feel socially isolated, which is another cause for feelings of loneliness, and that’s okay. These are expected reactions to losses. But these negative feelings can put their mental health in a vulnerable position. These negative emotions can contribute to the development of mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety disorders.

But empty nesters are not completely defenseless against the Empty Nest syndrome. There are ways to cope with this complicated phenomenon. Let’s look at several things that parents can do to successfully deal with Empty Nest syndrome.

What Parents Can Do

happy family

  • Finding Company

Being an empty nester can be a unique opportunity for parents to practice their social lives. This means they have more freedom to do what they want and meet with friends. This can help them feel better as they are replacing the presence of their kids with other people.

Companionship can extend to the animal kingdom as well. Parents can get pets of their choice that can liven up the aura of the home. Dogs can be good company for parents since these creatures are highly sociable. Of course, they may need to go through a dog training camp program to ensure they are well-trained.

  • Spending Time Out of the House

The feel of the house can get lonely. With that, it may help to get out of the house from time to time. Children may be valuable to parents, but a world still exists outside of them.

Being out of the house can also help parents socialize with other people. By being out, parents can be exposed to other individuals. With that, empty nesters should take time to take regular walks or visit their favorite coffee shops from time to time. The possibilities are endless for empty nesters.

  • Doing What They Enjoy

For some empty nesters, this is the perfect time to do the hobbies they love. Sometimes, taking care of children can cause parents to spend less time on their interests. With kids out of the way, parents now have the time to do the hobbies they want.

  • Keeping in Touch with Kids

Of course, no matter what they do, parents will miss their children. It is hard to substitute the regard that a parent has for their kids. With that, parents should keep in touch with their children. This helps them have an idea about what’s going on with their children’s lives.

Also, parents should accept that their kids have grown up and that they are no longer the small toddlers they used to take care of. This is simply a fact of life. The sooner parents accept this, the better they feel about their kids leaving home.

Being an empty nester can be challenging; it can be emotional yet freeing. But parents should never forget that they are always part of their child’s life, no matter where life may take them.

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