Raising children can be easy for some parents or hard for others and it might feel like the time will never come when they move out of the house.
When they do leave the nest, parents will usually find this to be great news. Or is it?
This, though, can be the biggest ‘Parent Trap’ any parent can experience, and it is called the ‘Empty Nest Syndrome’.
According to the Mayo Clinic; “Empty nest syndrome isn't a clinical diagnosis. Instead, empty nest syndrome is a phenomenon in which parent’s experience feelings of sadness and loss when the last child leaves home”.
So, the ‘Empty Nest Syndrome’ becomes the ‘Parent Trap’ as it is a time where parents must change the way they approach each day and shed the old routines without their children, and for some, this can be very hard and thought this time would never come.
Emotionally and physically adjusting is the key to finding balance for this new time as the focus now shifts back to the needs of the individual parent, as a person, and this thought has not been a reality for the parent in the last 18 years.
This new independence can feel great at first, but at the end of the day coming home to an empty house, no one to cook for, no one to be there, no one to talk to, not feeling needed and not feeling useful can begin the spiral down.
If a parent doesn’t have plans to embrace this change and have support, it can lead to loneliness, depression, alcoholism, addictions and even worse, suicide.
It is very important to understand:
- That lifestyle changes will be occurring and that it is ok to put yourself first since this is a common and well-deserved transition in life that can achieve happiness and hope again
- Make sure parent’s approach each day with purpose and stay mindful of changes that they can embrace
Some things that parents can do is:
- Create new schedules and routines
- Find new hobbies like yoga, meditation, prayer, bowling, exercise groups, walking, movies
- Take on a new job
- Adopt a pet
- Reconnect with spouses
- Find new groups of interest or adult education classes
- Take time to meet with new and old friends
- Take fun trips
- Redecorate the house to celebrate this new time in a parent’s life
Linda and her husband Jay are raising their 7 children, including a son with additional needs and they live in Millstone Township. Linda shares her inspirational journey to help inspire other parents about how to not only be the best parents they can be even if they are not perfect, but to always remember to honor who they are as individuals.