When all the kids finally become independent and leave home, there can be a sense of grief and sadness instead of excitement and happiness. This feeling is known as empty nest syndrome. Empty Nest Syndrome is not a medical condition, but it is a transition period in one’s life. It’s simply an “adjustment disorder,” which parents feel after their children leave home and make their way out into the world. Empty Nest Syndrome has some of the same adverse effects as job loss, divorce, or death of a loved one can bring to a person. Dealing with Empty Nest Syndrome is normal and creates an excellent opportunity for parents to reassess who they are and their role in their child’s life.
Parents want their kids to grow up and become independent adults.
Moving out of their families’ house isn’t an everyday event for young adults. Parents are often busy helping with logistics around the move’s time, so it is important to check-in with yourself throughout the process. Empty Nest usually brings about feelings of anxiety, loneliness, sadness and can lead to depression. It’s easy for the caregiver to lose their sense of purpose after the children have all gone as there is less work to do and more free time available. Research shows mothers are more susceptible to experiencing Empty Nest Syndrome, but fathers naturally feel the effect of the children’s’ absence as well.
The best thing you can do is talk to someone about how you’re feeling.
The main question on the lips of the parents who experience empty nest syndrome is whether they have trained their children to survive and prosper out in the world without constant sheltering. Having control over your child’s many decisions is a requirement as they are growing up. Still, once the child is out of the house, it can be strange not to play that role, and you may feel a loss of connection and control over them, which can lead to the feeling of sadness and the loss of purpose and motivation. Some parents might even feel guilty because they weren’t as involved as they would have wanted to be in their children’s’ lives. The fact that the number of people in the house has changed will also make it feel empty, increasing the parents’ feeling of loneliness.
Empty nest syndrome is not a medical condition, and it appears differently in different people. Some may find solace in just using that free time to do something they’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t because the kids were around. You can finally take that trip you’ve always wanted to without worrying about the cost of taking an extra person. You should also find new ways for you to stay in close contact with your children. Possibly even spice up your marriage as having an empty nest would give you more time to spend with your spouse with you two alone at home.
Children growing up is another of life’s inevitable changes. Trust the process and allow yourself the time to readjust. Talk to someone you can trust about how you are feeling and find life’s next challenge!
Wishing you The Gift of Exploration,