Know What Is Empty Nest Syndrome
Your home had been abuzz with kids until recently. You were busy feeding them, grooming them, helping them to build their career, and showing them how to live on their own. But now you feel lonely when your kids started living independently. You may be satisfied with the mission accomplished in your life, but by looking at your empty nest (house) you feel miserable.
What Is Empty Nest Syndrome?
The empty nest syndrome is parents ‘ feelings of sadness, loneliness, and purpose loss when their kids move away from home. This happens mostly when the kids go out to study, work or get married.
It’s not a clinical diagnosis, however, but a transitional period when some parents feel anguished and feel a sense of loss. A person who has these feelings is called an empty nester.
Empty Nest Syndrome Effects On Parents:
When all their children leave them, it is natural for parents to feel sad and lonely. But the loneliness may eventually have both a negative and a positive effect on the parents.
- Psychologists say that it is not always bad for parents to be away from children when they have time to establish relationships with others.
- It allows them to rediscover their hobbies and interests, improve the quality of life and reconnect with the family.
- Couples are also permitted to spend time together and to relax.
- Depression can lead to a significant sense of loss. It can also lead to an identity crisis, behavioral difficulties or conflicts between people and alcoholism.
- Research shows that solitude and depression can lead to cognitive impairment in elderly people.
- Parents, particularly mothers, may feel a loss of purpose as they don’t have anyone to look after now.
- It is also observed that in homemaker women the empty nester feelings are high than in career women.
The effects may sound contrasting, but we can say older parents (usually over 65 years of age) are affected more negatively than middle-aged parents.
Why Parents Experience Empty Nest Syndrome?
It’s natural to miss your kids. But it has a tremendous impact on some. Here are the factors that make a parent with the syndrome more likely:
1. Parents Age:
Elderly parents, who physically and financially need support from their children, are more susceptible to the syndrome because they don’t have anyone to rely on.
2. Unhappy Marriage:
An unstable marriage can only make the life of a parent revolve around their children. Lack of their partner’s support makes the person very lonely. As only their presence has been constant, they tend to get too attached to their children.
3. A sense of identity:
Some parents lose their sense of purpose, except to see themselves as their children’s caretakers. Parents who only feel validated and acknowledged by the performance and development of their kids are susceptible to feel depressed when the kids are not around suddenly.
4. Trouble In Accepting Changes:
It’s hard for some people to deal with change. While parents know that children will grow up one day and lead an independent life when the time comes they refuse to accept the reality. And if the child is moving out earlier than expected, the feelings may get worse.
The truth is that children cannot always stay with their families. As soon as parents accept that truth, it’s easier for them.
Dealing With Empty Nest Syndrome?
Here are some ways to deal with this syndrome
1. Understand that you have time for yourself:
You have time to indulge in watching your favorite shows, doing the activities you love, hanging out with friends and more after years of prioritizing your kids and family above all else.
2. Concentrate on other relationships:
More relationships exist than parent-child. Explore them and go out. Build relationships with your own parents, siblings, spouses, neighbors, and friends of your childhood. Now you have the opportunity to pay attention to what makes you happy as a person, not as a parent.
3. Follow your dream:
It is time you pursued all those interests that you have neglected after years of hard work and sacrifices. Whether it’s crayon coloring, badminton playing, or reading book – use your time to shoot off to your next project.
4. Keep in touch:
Your children may be away, but through phone calls, messages, emails or video chats you can keep in touch with them.
Prevention Of Empty Nest Syndrome?
Yes, it’s possible. You may be afraid to have an empty nest when your kids are ready to move out. Plan ahead, therefore. Find new opportunities for your professional and personal life to redefine yourself. Keep busy with work and new challenges so that when grown-up birds fly away from your nest, you don’t feel unintentional. You’ll definitely feel empty when they leave you and miss your kids. But then you are supposed to accept reality and learn to live without it. So why not upgrade your empty nest to make it a lovely place to live?
Each parent’s goal is to see the independence and confidence of their children. If your young adult has moved out and learned to live independently, look at it as a parent’s success and get a pat on the back.