When children leave home to live on their own for the first time, parents or guardians may begin to feel a general sense of grief and loneliness. It’s a normal, healthy event when a young adult moves away to university or gets their first apartment, so many of the symptoms experienced by parents go unrecognised.
It’s typical for parents to feel like they’re experiencing a loss of purpose, and many more begin to feel depressed, however it’s very important that parents adjust their lives accordingly when their children ‘leave the nest’.
All parents will feel some form of empty nest syndrome when their child leaves home, however women usually find the transition a lot more distressing than men. Middle-aged women approaching menopause are extremely susceptible to the condition, as they’ll feel the change is stressful instead of refreshing.
Rejection is also a common emotion, and if a parent feels unsatisfied by their marriage, this can also enhance the syndrome, spurring thoughts of separation or divorce. Family law solicitors in Bradford report a number of cases ever year relating to married couples who experience relationship turmoil once a child moves out of the home.
Empty nest syndrome often causes parents to consider whether they’ve adequately prepared their child for leaving home, and fathers tend to feel guilt over lost opportunities and bonding. The biggest challenge parents face is trying to form a new type of relationship with their children, as well as finding something to do with all their free time. Many coupes try to reconnect with each other when their child moves out of the house; it allows them to experience opportunities they substituted for parenthood.
Parents who are looking to overcome the negative emotions of empty nest syndrome have many coping mechanisms available to them. Keeping in regular contact with sons or daughters is one of the best ways to confront the situation, whether it’s through phone calls, social networking or text messaging.
Parents are also encouraged to use their free time for hobbies and other interests that have taken a back-seat over the years, as well as openly discussing their feelings with their spouse. Holding back emotions related to empty nest symptoms are a major cause of depression.
Full-time parents, women especially, can be left with little to do once their child has moved out of the family home. Getting back into employment helps overcome the negativity of empty nest syndrome, and it also instils a sense of confidence through job hunting and interviews. When a child leaves the home to start their adult life, it should be seen as a positive change instead of a personal rejection.
University or full-time employment can teach young adults valuable life skills as well as providing opportunities that parents never could. With this in mind, parents should encourage their children to embrace new challenges outside the comforts of the home as this is where they’ll be able to discover their real interests, career paths and friendships.