Is Your Last Child Flying the Coop?

emptynestpic-149735202If your last child is all grown up and about to leave home, or he or she has already moved out, you may experience some mixed emotions or what’s commonly called, empty next syndrome.

Empty nest syndrome is not a clinical diagnosis. It is a phenomenon in which parents may experience feelings of sadness and loss when their last child leaves home. You may worry how well your child will function in the world without your parental supervision and question their ability to take care of themselves. If you are the parent of an only child, you may have a particularly difficult time adjusting to an empty nest.

Many parents experiencing empty nest syndrome are confused by these feelings since they actively encouraged their child to become independent. Still, letting go can be painful. The feeling of not being needed by your child anymore, missing being a part of your child’s daily lives, as well as missing the constant companionship of your child can cause some parents to have mild bouts of depression, identity crisis, alcoholism and marital conflicts.

Some tips to help you overcome empty nest syndrome are:

  • Prepare for the departure – Take time to check that your child is aware of how to do the basic essentials for themselves such as, how to wash their clothes, cook for themselves, balance a checkbook and appreciate the value of money.
  • Shift aside the terrifying thoughts – Both you and your child will be better off if you treat this as a big adventure. Try not to transfer your fears onto your child. Help them to understand that once they’re into their new routine, it will be familiar, fun and successful.
  • Explore the ways that you intend to keep in touch with your child – Keeping in constant communication is vital for maintaining a sense of family togetherness and to keep of with the news. Schedule a weekly call-in time, utilize e-mail, texting, social media, Skype, or Face Time as a way of touching base while being sensitive to their need to grow and become their own adult person.
  • Start looking toward your own needs – Once you are satisfied that you child is settled on the right bath, you will start noticing a big change in your life. This is a great time to revive some of your own interests and pursuits.
  • Rediscover the love of your life – Unless you are a single parent, you will be left with your spouse or partner. Re-kindling the relationship you shared, pre-children, can be an exciting adventure of your own to take.
  • Focus on some of the positive points of your kids moving out – You may notice that the refrigerator does not need as frequent refilling, there are less trips to the grocery store and the laundry has decreased. Seeing the brighter side will help you while you are transitioning.

As the time for your child to fly the next approaches, try to reflect on each stage in your child’s life. Each ending was a new beginning. Stay positive, the fact that your child has confidently left home means you’ve done a great job as a parent. After leaving the nest, you can forge a new and even better relationship with your child as independent adults. Enjoy the friendship without having the pressure of hands-on parenting

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.