We had the relationship coach, Val Baldwin, on the show to give us some insight on empty nest syndrome and a few tips to overcome it. Empty nest syndrome refers to the feelings of sadness, grief, depression, loneliness, emptiness and loss when children grow up, leave for college, get married or leave home to live on their own. It’s very common to feel this way and if you do feel this way remember these 5 important tips.
- You are not alone! It’s quite normal and natural to have these feelings and have a little cry every now and then because of it. Don’t be ashamed of your feelings.
- Congratulate yourself. Realize that you have accomplished the ultimate parent goal of raising full grown, successful, independent adults. Give yourself a big pat on the back for helping your child develop a healthy, independent life.
- It’s time for a fresh start. It’s time to change your focus on being a parent and its responsibilities to now focusing on things that bring YOU enjoyment. Whether it’s going back to school, doing volunteer work, finding a new hobby, taking a trip, learning a new language, making a career change….the sky is the limit.
- Your child’s needs versus your needs. When your child leaves home, you’ll obviously want to keep in touch but don’t try and do this excessively. Be sensitive to the fact that your child is trying to take a big, significant step in life. They will need your support, but will not want to feel swamped by you trying to take over and making all their decisions. You need to give them their space but keeping in contact shows you care and will always be there for them when they need you.
- Create a new marriage for your new life. Many marriages are frail at the empty nest stage because they haven’t been nurtured in the way they should have been during the “raising kids” years. Talk about how you both want this next phase of life to be like. Share your dreams and desires and come up with a win-win for both of you.
When your children leave the nest, your life purpose is not over. It’s actually the start of a brand new chapter in your life that has yet to be written. In fact, this can be the happiest and richest time of your life if you choose to make it happen.