The term “empty nest syndrome” is not a medical diagnosis. It’s a simple expression to describe loss, loneliness, and sadness. It occurs when children move away from home.
It can be challenging for parents because they must adapt to life without children. It is also expected because we want our kids to become independent.
But letting go of them can be a challenge.
Empty nest syndrome is often a problem for women more often than men. This is because women tend to be caregivers in the family.
This is especially prevalent for parents who stay at home. Over the years, their lives were determined by the requirements for their kids.
Since that desire is no longer there, the gap is difficult to fill.
What do you know about empty nest syndrome?
We hear a lot of the phrase “empty nest syndrome” when the conclusion of college or high school is near. It can trigger various mixed emotions: fear, excitement, relief, and sadness.
On the one hand, you’re happy to watch your child move into this world confidently. However, you’re bound to be concerned about their health and well-being as you grieve the loss of intimacy resulting from living in the same house.
The positive side is that you’re not the only one suffering from the symptoms that you are suffering from empty nest syndrome.
Who experiences empty nest syndrome most?
Research suggests that full-time parents have a higher likelihood of suffering from ENS. It is due to the following factors:
- They cannot live on their own.
- They’re struggling with their relationship.
- They gained their identity through their roles as parents.
Signs and Symptoms of Empty Nest Syndrome
It’s like last night you held your baby infant in your arms. And said you would love them and care for them for the rest of their lives.
The last one of your children has left home. Furthermore, you’re not sure how to do it. It’s a familiar feeling, and there’s a well-known term for it, the empty nest syndrome. It is not a diagnosis of any illness.
The most common signs that are typical of the empty nest syndrome include the feeling of anxiety, sadness, and grief. It is a problem for males as well as women.
6 of the most commonly observed signs of this condition.
1. Anxiety About Your Children
No matter if your child went to college or just moved to their house. It’s normal to be concerned about how they’re doing once they’ve left the nest.
But what isn’t normal is to be constantly worried about how well your kid is doing.
Doing it multiple times per day or spending hours monitoring your children’s accounts on social networks isn’t helpful for either of you.
Please don’t call to ask whether they’ve remembered to floss or to remind them to do their homework.
This is your child’s chance to fly and test all the techniques you taught while living at home.
Be sure to balance your desire to check on your kid’s desire for privacy. Create your plan of how you’ll keep in touch. You could set up regular phone calls or email or text messages.
Moreover, arrange an annual dinner date with your child if your child is.
2. Marital Stress
When raising children, many families tend to distance themselves from their relationships. In addition, they have their family revolve around their children.
If you’ve neglected your relationship, you could discover that your marriage needs some attention once the children have gone.
You might not know what you should do as a couple if actions were always focused on kids attending school and doing activities. Making friends is a difficult task.
Additionally, couples may react differently when they become empty nesters if one has adjusted more easily. Or enjoying life with no children in a family more significant than another.
The two of you might have more tension in your relationship. It is a must to reconnect as a couple.
Consider this an occasion to rekindle your connection with your loved one and re-discover why you fell in love with your partner in the first place.
3. A Loss of Purpose
Your days used to be full of soccer practices, teacher-student conferences, piano classes carpooling, playdates, and birthday celebrations.
Nowadays, the bustle and hustle of raising children are gone. You might still seem a little empty despite family, friends, and work activities.
The feeling is typical among parents with children that left home recently. The decision to let go of the busy daily responsibilities of parenthood isn’t an easy transition.
Particularly when you were defined mainly by the role you played as a parent while your child was still at home.
The positive side is that, after an adjustment phase, you’ll find an entirely new reason to live your life. This is particularly true when you use the time to pursue new interests or face the following problem.
When you adjust, you’ll likely feel sadness as you accept that a chapter in your life is over. Don’t forget about the new chapter to begin in your child’s life as well as your own.
4. Frustration Over Lack of Control
You held some control over the schedule of your kids’ lives for a long time, but that has changed. When your child is independent, you will not be able to know all the specifics about their day as you did in the past.
Lack of control over the time your child attends classes, works or goes out on a dinner date, or hangs out with their friends is a source of frustration.
You may also feel disengaged because you’re unaware of your child’s routine specifics.
5. Avoid becoming a helicopter parent
Avoid pressure on your children to get that they should keep you engaged with their daily lives.
It results in less well-being among college students. While you may have the best intentions, your adult child could be irritated by what they perceive as interfering with their independent lifestyle.
However, they may appreciate your attention and direction to them. Too much focusing on and giving instructions can prevent your child’s ability to make wise choices and manage their life independently.
Be aware that they are applying the knowledge you’ve taught them to start navigating their own lives; it is a thrilling moment for them.
Please ensure your confidence in their abilities to develop and excel independently.
Your child will always need your support. It will always do; however, your current role should be that of an advisor, not an unending source of instruction or correction in their lives.
Instead of trying to exert control of the events in your child’s life, focus on dealing with your discomfort in a healthy manner. Consider one of these suggestions:
- Pursuing interests that you couldn’t find time for while your children were at home
- Attending a class on an interesting subject
- Reconnecting friends
- Developing the new skills
Over time, the empty nest will be less tense. Proper planning helps you to prevent empty nest syndrome if your last child is leaving home. You’ll be used to the idea of your child being in control of their own life, and you’ll begin to build an understanding of what is regularity in your daily life.
6. Emotional Distress
Suppose you find yourself crying while watching sad commercials. Or, when on the road, be aware that this is not unusual. It’s a very emotional time at this moment.
So, it’s not surprising that events or statements you would normally not be affected by can become more significant.
Being an empty nester may trigger a myriad of emotions. It could be that you are experiencing the following:
- Be sad that the child you love is now a grown-up.
- Feel angry at you for not being accessible to them.
- Are you worried about the condition of your marriage?
- Do you feel scared that you’re becoming older?
- You’re frustrated. The reason is that you’re not in the place you thought you’d be at this point in your life.
Anything you feel comfortable with is okay. Trying to hide your feelings or hide your feelings will not help them go away or cause them to get worse because it causes them to pop up at the wrong moment or in the wrong place.
Feel whatever emotions arise, and be aware that emotions aren’t either right or wrong. They are simply an expression of the circumstances you are in.
Feel uncomfortable in the time it takes for them to subside independently. It could actually aid in the process of letting these feelings go away and diminish more quickly.
How do parents deal with the absence of their children?
Certain parents deal with the transition more easily than others. They might even wonder why their home is empty when they live in it.
However, a few mental techniques can aid those struggling, including practicing self-compassion.
Furthermore, gratitude, expressing their emotions (e.g., journaling), and reaching out for help whenever they require it is important.
Exercise, mindfulness training, and showing kindness to others are also healthy ways to deal with stressful moments.
How to enjoy the empty nest
Suppose you’re feeling a sense of loss due to empty nest syndrome. In the event that you’re experiencing feelings of loss, Doctor. Sosso suggests these tips:
Accept the time.
Do not compare your child’s schedule to your own experiences or expectations. Instead, concentrate on the ways you could do order to assist your child in achieving success as he or she departs the house.
Stay in contact.
You’ll be able to stay close to your children even when they go away through messages, phone calls, videos, text messages, and even personal visits.
Ask for help.
You can count on loved ones to provide help. Be open about your feelings. If you feel depressed, consult your healthcare provider.
Consider the additional time and energy you can dedicate to your family or personal pursuits.
If your final child is about to leave your home, planning ahead can assist in keeping an empty nest syndrome at bay.
Being busy or tackling new challenges at work or home can reduce the feeling that you are losing your identity.”
- Read More: Can I Eat Ice Cream While Breastfeeding?
How long will the “empty nest” syndrome continue?
Every parent will experience the experience of having an “empty nest” syndrome. It could last only a few weeks for certain and many years for other parents.
Most parents suffer from the symptoms of “empty nest” syndrome after several months. “A few months” can vary from two months up to a full year.
A study found that parents need, on average, three months to adjust to living in a home that is empty.
But, the syndrome of the empty nest may begin as an anticipation emotional response prior to the time your child actually has moved out.
It’s perfectly normal, even if it takes some time to overcome these emotions. Everyone has their own personal timeline to process loss and adapt to a change in stage or lifestyle.
As much as you can, do not put yourself in the illusion of well-being.
It’s vital to be aware that depression that is clinical can be misinterpreted as an empty nest syndrome. 5 percent of the world’s population suffers from depression. If your symptoms continue to persist for a prolonged time, we recommend seeking professional help.
The Benefits of Having an Empty Nest
While it isn’t easy to adapt to life without children, certain benefits are worth it.
First of all, you will be freer and have more time to pursue the things you would like to do. Traveling, exploring new interests, and enjoying more quality time with your partner or spouse is possible.
In addition, you do not need to be concerned about things like bedtimes, homework, and teenage tension. Instead, you’ll be able to focus on having fun and taking good care of yourself.
The 3 phases of empty nest syndrome
In Carin Rubenstein’s well-known work, Beyond the Mommy Years, three phases are a sign of the empty nest syndrome.
When your child is the first to leave home, you’re bound to feel overwhelmed by sadness and sadness. It is possible that you are crying and emotionally triggered by simple things.
The sadness can cause you to be unable to interact with the world for a while as you attempt to cope with the huge change that occurred in your life.
After a couple of months have gone by, after which you could be having fun with the new freedom you’ve found.
Instead of the stress of having to take your children everywhere and do endless cleaning. You can now make the time to indulge in hobbies and self-care.
This new lifestyle is sure to bring you feelings of relaxation.
Once you’ve ridden the roller coaster of sorrow, reprieve, and liberation, you will be at the point of joy. Perhaps, you’ve established the new routine that you have set for yourself.
Maybe you’re developing new social networks or even booking that romantic getaway. Or maybe, even a solo vacation.
You can be confident that you’ve taken your child to the outside world with the needed love, education, and encouragement through your mindful parenting.
Empty nest syndrome is an inevitable part of life as parents. Be sure to allow your body time to get used to it and to discover new activities and hobbies to keep you entertained.
Keep in touch with your children. Also, connect with other parents suffering from the same issue. If you’re struggling with stress, it may be beneficial for you to consult a therapist.
Also, think about consulting, freelance work, or even volunteering in your local community to cope with the changes.
How long will the empty nest syndrome last?
Every parent will experience an experience different from the empty nest phenomenon. It could last only a few weeks, but it could last many years for others.
Most parents have suffered from empty nest syndrome for over a couple of months. “A few months” can range from two to a whole year.
What are three critical traits for empty-nesters?
- Grief. People with empty nests can experience immense sadness and might start to feel the five phases of grieving.
- Emptiness. It’s possible to feel like a boat with no Rudder. It can be a shock to feel empty.
- Worry and anxiety. You may be uneasy and worried about your future ahead.
What should you do if you’re experiencing an empty nest?
How to Deal with Empty Nest Syndrome
- Acknowledge Your Grief. Let yourself be sorrowful about feeling empty.
- Give Yourself Time. It’s hard to change, and adjusting to it requires some time. Don’t expect yourself to be better immediately.
- Focus On the Positive Side.
- Seek Treatment.
Does an Empty Nest cause anxiety?
Sadness, feelings of loss, and grief. And anxiety is typical in parents with empty nest syndrome. This condition affects both genders.
What are the causes of empty nest syndrome?
The reasons behind empty nest syndrome can vary between parents. The most common causes concern children’s safety or security and how they will manage their new surroundings. Anxiety about losing parental responsibility when a child leaves home.
What can I do to reconnect after emptying my nest?
Ways to Reconnect
- Take a break. If you’re experiencing an enormous change, it’s going to take greater energy and effort than you imagine.
- Remember how it all started.
- Make plans for a trip.
- Recreate memorable moments.
- Discussion about the latest interests.
- Develop new routines.
- Get physical intimacy.