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What is empty nest syndrome?

Posted by Be Well

What is empty nest syndrome?
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It probably feels like only yesterday that you were changing their diapers and wiping their noses, so it might be quite a blow when you find your kids flying the nest. It's natural to be sad; after all, you've spent the last 18 years or so bringing them up. You may have seen parenthood as your primary role in life, and feel loss or even grief now they no longer live with you or need day-to-day care.

If you find yourself feeling like this when your children move out, you've probably got what the experts call 'empty nest syndrome'. Don't be ashamed or embarrassed of how you're feeling - it's perfectly natural for you to feel sad, even have a little cry now and again. Express, discuss and work through your feelings with your partner or someone you trust. Sometimes just talking about what's upsetting you can be a real help.

If your sadness or depression becomes overwhelming and you find you don't want to see friends or even go to work, you should see your doctor - you may need some counseling to gain a perspective on how your feeling. Again, this is nothing to be ashamed of.

Letting go

Let your child know you miss them, but don't cling too tightly. Be sensitive to the fact that they are taking a big, significant step in life by going it alone for the first time. They will appreciate your support, but don't swamp them. Texting and emailing are swift ways for you both to express your feelings without getting too emotional.

Rediscovering relationships

You might be a single parent, in which case this is the perfect opportunity to spend more time with friends and make new ones, you may even consider getting back on the dating scene again.

If you're married or in a long-term relationship, this is your chance to rekindle the romance you enjoyed when it was just the two of you. Plan trips or take spontaneous mini-breaks, have quiet nights in together or arrange dinner parties with your friends. Focus your new free time on your relationship.

Your relationship with your kids has moved on to a new, more equal and exciting stage. You should cherish this time - you'll go from being just a parent, to a trusted, valued friend as well.

NOTICE: The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on Wellsphere. If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
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