Monday, September 09, 2019
By John Voket
Whether your “little one” is heading off to kindergarten or college, millions of parents across the nation are celebrating the sudden onset of free time. For others, “empty nest syndrome” can be a boon or bust depending on whether parents have the tools to cope.
The Mayo Clinic says previous research suggested parents with empty nest syndrome experience a profound sense of loss that might make them vulnerable to depression, alcoholism, identity crisis and marital conflicts.
However, more recent studies suggest parents have a new opportunity to reconnect, improve the quality of their marriage, and re-kindle interests they previously didn’t have time to do when a child leaves home.
Mayoclinic.org states that anyone experiencing empty nest syndrome can take action by:
– Avoiding the urge to compare your child’s timetable to your own experience or expectations. Instead, focus on what you can do to help them succeed whenever he or she leaves home.
– Making an effort to maintain regular contact through visits, phone calls, emails, texts or video chats.
– Staying positive by tapping extra time and energy to improve your relationships or personal interests to help you adapt to this major life change.
Jane-athome.com says free time after the kids have gone offers a wealth of opportunity for parents and caregivers including:
– Volunteering. Why not reach out to others who are hurting?
– Learn how to cook, or expand your cooking skills. Try new recipes, discover new cuisines and use all those ingredients your kids don’t like!
– Start a flower, herb or vegetable garden – or learn how to arrange flowers.
– Take classes, go back to school, finish your degree or pursue a brand new profession.
– Adopt a pet in need of a home, pet sit or become a foster pet parent.
Amy Morin, LCSW at verywellfamily.com says resist the urge to check-in too much. She says coping with empty nest syndrome means letting go and letting your child grow into an independent adult.
Morin reminds rigid parents that you should certainly check in on your child’s well-being sometimes, but give them some privacy and space to make a few mistakes.
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