7 Strategies to Deal with Empty Nest Syndrome

7 Strategies to Deal with Empty Nest Syndrome

Last update: 29 May, 2018

Children are a source of satisfaction, and also worry. When they leave home, parents can suffer from what is known as “empty nest syndrome.” Empty nest syndrome refers to a combination of loneliness, sadness, and melancholy that mix with a feeling of abandonment and loss of identity. 

The concrete circumstances that characterize empty nest syndrome depend from one family to the next. The feelings that parents have when children leave home also vary.

Keep in mind that not all couples experience empty nest syndrome. When it does happen, there are many different degrees. If the relationship has a solid foundation and emotional bonds are maintained, it’s harder for this to occur. This feeling of dissatisfaction and abandonment won’t happen as often.

Empty nest syndrome is hard

On the other hand, if the presence of children is the main reason that the couple stays together,  empty nest syndrome is more likely. It is normal to miss everyday life with your kids.  What’s more, you also have to deal with worrying about their safety when they leave home. You wonder if they will be able to take care of themselves. This situation can cause stress and even depression in parents.

Not all experts agree that this is an actual disorder. Some even deny the existence of the syndrome itself. But, it does seem obvious that this transition is a big change for parents and children.

“My family is my strength and my weakness.”

– Aishwarya Rai Bachchan –

woman suffering empty nest syndrome

So, the children have left the nest. They no longer live in their parents’ home. As such, it’s time for the parents to redesign their lives so that the change affects them as little as possible. Parents must understand the new situation, accept it, and try their hardest to make the best of it.

A time to strengthen your marriage

When the kids are at home, your marriage often gets put on the back burner. This is a great time to work on the relationship. You can rediscover intimate moments and find hobbies you both enjoy.

Exercise and stay active

It’s never too late to avoid a sedentary lifestyle. You are never too old to start exercising. Strength, flexibility, and balance are the three key areas for staying active and aging gracefully. Regular exercise makes it easier to relax and take care of your health.

Respect your children’s autonomy

You have to accept that your children have grown up. They don’t depend on their parents to make decisions anymore. Learning how to have an adult relationship with your children can be very gratifying for all involved.

Enjoy your free time

This is the moment to revisit activities that you weren’t able to do when the kids were at home. Take advantage of this time to do things you enjoy. When you have kids at home, there is so much to do every day that you often don’t have the opportunity for your own hobbies and pastimes.

Take up a hobby you enjoy. Dedicate some time to yourself. This will help keep your mind occupied. Consequently, it will be harder to feel overwhelmed by loneliness and sadness.

“Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who wants to live in an institution?”

-Groucho Marx-

strengthen your marriage

Spend more time on your social life

Retirement and children leaving home can lead to a solitary life. Sometimes retirees end up socially isolated. To avoid that, stay active. Sign up for a class or a workshop. Join a club or visit a rec center or other programs for older adults. All of this is good for your health and well-being. It increases self-esteem and helps you age gracefully.

Stay positive

Feeling sad is normal after your children leave home. That being said, try to look for the positive aspects of the change and not just focus on the negative. Think about how it is a decision that they are making and it’s good for them. That should make you happy.

You are still a parent

The fact that your children are independent and don’t live with you anymore doesn’t mean that you will lose touch with them. You won’t stop being a parent. In this new stage of parenting, try to find ways to fulfill your kid’s needs in their new life. You can still maintain close contact with them, which will help you feel like you are still an important part of their lives.

This new phase of life can be seen in a positive light. Think of it as a opportunityfor the child-parent relationship to evolve.

A large percentage of the young adult population currently suffers from job insecurity or unemployment. The situation in the future looks relatively bleak as well. With an aging population and an economic situation that primarily affects people around the age of 30, becoming independent is more and more complicated.

The aging population is a pressing issue. It means that many young adults can’t leave their family home. However, that feeds the empty nest syndrome in a negative way.

The ease of having children live at home, the scarcity of employment, and the comfort of home leads many parents to think that their children will always be with them. As a result, so many are unprepared to face it when their children finally do leave home.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.