When The Time Comes to Say Goodbye to Your Children
Saying goodbye to the people you love most is not easy and even less so when they are your children. As parents, we know that at some point they will have to fly the nest, but even if we think we’re prepared to handle this situation, when it comes everything changes and our world falls apart.
It is normal to feel sadness and sorrow when our children leave. We’ve been responsible for them since they were little, we’ve taught them almost everything we could about life and we’ve been there to help them and support them when they’ve needed it. But this is going to change. Now they’re going to make their own lives and become independent.
Many parents refuse to accept this reality and this causes serious conflicts with their children. Although it is difficult to say goodbye to them, the parents have to understand that this freedom is good for them and is part of the cycle of life. When this understanding isn’t present, we face the empty nest syndrome.
When saying goodbye hurts
Empty nest syndrome is a feeling full of sadness and loneliness. The parents aren’t able to face the departure of their children and anxiety begins to appear in their lives. However much they thought they were prepared for this moment, they weren’t. Many refuse to accept this reality in their inner world.
Today this situation has become magnified. Young people take longer to leave the nest and some even never do so. The economic situation or the comfort of continuing to live with their parents means that the parents don’t feel the need to prepare for a future of separation and believe their children will be with them forever.
It is true that if you have more than one child this might not be so difficult. One will leave, but another may stay. On the other hand, if you only have one descendant, their departure will be more painful. They are your only child and you don’t want to lose them. Even just them going on vacation far away for a long time already causes you a certain level of fear.
Letting go is easy when there’s a healthy relationship between parents and children
The strength of the bonds in the relationship with the parents also has an influence. For example, in the case of a single mother who has had to bring up her child alone, the bond is likely to be much more dependent than if the situation had been different. In this case, the mother has relied on the child a lot and can’t conceive of her life without them.
Becoming independent is not a loss
It is difficult to overcome this situation when the parents see it so dramatically. For them, the fact that their children are going to leave the nest means that they are going to lose them, but they couldn’t be more wrong. They are simply going to build their own lives just as their parents did. They will build their own family, but they’ll still be there.
Of course it’s not the same to go and live in another country than to stay in a house near the parents. Despite this, many parents feel that if their children aren’t in their home then they’ve lost them forever. That’s why it is important to change the vision we have of thinking that the act of saying goodbye is synonymous with loss.
If you are in a couple, it will be much easier to overcome this situation. You can take advantage of the opportunity to travel, focus on your relationship again, and live experiences you hadn’t been able to up until now. There are many parents that forget to care for their relationship because they focus too much on their children. This can change now.
If you’re alone and you’ve relied on your child too much, don’t cut their wings or make them feel guilty for leaving home. Go out with your friends, talk to others, enjoy life, travel, meet new people, but let your child live their life. Remember that you did this too in your moment, and that it’s not fair for you to put barriers up for the person you most love.
Accepting the situation is very important to enable healthy independence.
The circumstances vary greatly, but we should never try to keep our children at home. If they want to become independent, don’t try to put stones in their path or make them feel bad. It’s not fair on you nor on them and your relationship could deteriorate because of it.
Saying goodbye is difficult but it is a law of life. Sooner or later we all take flight to live new experiences, grow, and in some cases, form our own family. Saying goodbye is not a synonym of loss or abandonment, it doesn’t even mean loneliness. Saying goodbye is moving on, changing, transforming and maturing.