Empty nest refers to the feelings of depression, sadness and/or grief that many parents feel when their children come of age and leave their childhood homes. This may occur when a child goes to college, Or gets married. Women are more likely than men to be affected. However, empty nest fathers may feel a sense of regret over things they didn't do and time not spent with their children. The grief of the empty nest often goes undetected because an adult child moving out is seen as a normal, healthy event. Research suggest that some parents are more susceptible than others. People who suffer from empty nest syndrome tend to have things in common:
- Change in the family is considered stressful
- They found moving out of their home difficult
- Their marriage is unstable
- People who are fulltime parents
- Parent who worry that their children are not ready to take on adult responsibilities
The challenges faced by parents experiencing empty nest syndrome sometimes include trying to establish a new kind of relationship with their adult children. This also marks a time to adjust to your new role in your child's life as well as changes in your identity as a parent. Your relationship with your child may become more peer like, and you will have to get used to giving your child more privacy. The husband and wife need to become a couple again and they will face a lack of sympathy from others. Sometimes the grief of the empty nest is accompanied by retirement, menopause or the death of a spouse.
Coping with the stress of the empty nest:
- Acknowledge your grief
- Discuss your thoughts, feelings, and future plans with your spouse
- Seek advice and support from other friends who understand how you feel
- Give yourself time to adapt
- Seek professional help if you feel overwhelmed
Many suggest preparing for an empty nest while your children are still living with you. Develop friendships, hobbies, career, and educational opportunities. Small changes over a long period of time will have less of an impact when your last child moves out. You will find that with thought and careful planning that when your last child moves out it will offer you a different kind of happiness.