Empty Nest Syndrome is the feeling of sadness, grief, depression or loneliness that the parents feel when their children leave the house. The situation happens when the children get married or start higher education.

Mostly, when the children leave house, the mothers experience other prominent events in life like taking care of their aged parents or coming to the stage of menopause. Fathers may also have this syndrome when staying away from the children.

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This syndrome doesn’t have any clinical diagnosis, but it is defined as having the feeling of loss. While people tend to encourage the children for being independent, sending off their children in another cities can be a very painful experience.

Symptoms of Empty Nest Syndrome

As told before, feeling of grief, loss and sadness are very normal at this phase. The parents can miss the daily contact and companionship that they have with their children. They also suffer from loneliness when the children are not around.

In case you are suffering from the syndrome, start monitoring your reactions and the time period of it. If you're feeling distressed as a result of worrying that your life has no meaning or you are crying so much and therefore unhappy and do not desire to meet friends or do any work, you must think about taking professional aid.

Effects of Empty Nest Syndrome

A research tells that the parent-child relationship’s quality may have essential results for both of them at the time the children leave the home. Parents experience the psychological effects because of living in an empty nest after they maintained and developed sensible relationship with the children. Factors like detachment, conflict or hostility in their relation might decrease inter-generational support at the time when it's most required by youth as they are going through early adulthood as well as by the parents facing old age challenges.

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Earlier, it was usually thought that ladies were significantly prone to depression at times like this and they experience a deep loss of identity and purpose. But, studies do not show increment in depressive health problem among ladies in this stage.

10 Killer Ways To Deal With Empty Nest Syndrome

Below Are Given Some Ways To Deal With Empty Nest Syndrome:

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  1. Prepare Your Mind Earlier For The Departure of Your Children

    Many people recommend to be prepared for an empty nest when your kids are still living in the house. Develop your hobbies, career, friendships and academic opportunities. Have plans with family members when all of you are still below the same roof, like have long talks, go for family vacations etc. Take a day off from your work to create special memories. Also, have special plans for the additional income when kids are living at the house but they are no longer dependent on you.

  2. Accept the Changes

    This also is a time to adjust your new role in the lives of your children and also accept changes in the identity as parents. Your relationship with your children can be more peer-like. As you will need to provide your children with more privacy, you'll also get more privacy for yourself.

  3. Put Aside the Terrific Thoughts

    Both your children and you can feel good if you both think of it like an adventure. For the kids who are afraid by the thought of leaving, it is essential to get them out of this feeling. Make them understand that when they will be in their new world it going to be fun and familiar.

    Let the children know that their house is their permanent nest, they can come back whenever they wish or need to come back home. It provides both your children and you with a secure sense of safety and belonging.

    In case the children are feeling miserable for the first time for being away, do not be happy about this secretly. They will need to go through these types of emotions while they will get used to the new atmosphere. They will surely require your support at that time and not a hidden wish for them to return home.

  4. Find Ways to Be Connected With Children

    You will feel emptiness and loneliness while the children are not there as you cannot just go to them and tell things as you used to do earlier. Having continuous communication is necessary to maintain the sense of togetherness and for being updated about each other. A few methods you can give a try are:

    • You should schedule call-in time on weekly basis. However you can feel tempted for calling more often, but it may be a burden on them unless they also want this, thus don't expect so much. You have to be sensitive to their requirement of growing and becoming mature.
    • Use SMS or any messaging app for all the things you want to share with them. It’s a good way to tell them anything without being emotional. You may not have frequent replies from your children as the time passes, but worry not, it is a part of settling and developing new relationships, and it doesn’t mean that they don’t care anymore.
  5. Socialize Yourself and Take Self-Care

    Social support is often very useful throughout times of loneliness and stress. Women can have kitty parties with their friends. Make new friends and contact the old ones. They are the essential part of the transition from ‘full time parent’ to ‘a person at home with no kids’. Go out and meet and greet new people. There are more empty nesters like you who are also searching new friends. They can be helpful in informing you about outdoor activities, events and also new job vacancies.

    Self-care must be taken as a priority throughout the tough transitions. Take care of your body and health. Go to parlor, take spas and spend time to take care of yourself. You can also start doing yoga to feel relieved from stress.

  6. Utilize Your Time

    There are some practical things you may do to manage the feelings. For instance, the energy and time that you spent towards your children will now be spent on totally different areas of life. This can be a suitable time to come back to or explore your hobbies, career pursuits and leisure activities. Jot down all that wishes you thought you will do one day. This is the time to pursue them. Put the list where you can see it easily and start to do them one by one.

    Try to do charity. Be in touch with any NGO, help poor people, children and women. You will feel good by doing so.

  7. Discover the Love of Your Life Again

    Discovering the love of your life again will also be exciting. After your kids have gone from the house, your partner will be the only person with whom you will be left in the house. It may be the case that you two have forgotten to be lovers after so many years of parenthood. Now, it is the time for both of you to speak honestly with each other about your feelings and be lovers again.

    • Both of you have to accept that it is a tough time of transition and it will allow you both forgive the messiness and uncertainties of living together as couple without children once again.
    • Plan a vacation to revive the love feelings and rely on each other to support emotionally.
    • Talk with your life partner about what you feel. Chances are one is feeling the same and you can talk relatively or one may listen simply and feel the same what you are feeling. You will surely feel relieved after talking to your spouse.
  8. Adopt a Ritual of Letting Go

    By having this ritual where you "let go" of the kids as they become mature and also let go of the parenting role actively, can be a cathartic and essential way in helping you to let go and move on.

  9. Pay Heed to the Positive Aspect

    There are some positive aspects of children’s moving out. Your children are now mature and learning to do things on their own which is very necessary for them. It’s time for you to feel proud for raising your children in a way that they have capacity to go out in this world and manage to survive alone. Pay heed to this aspect and you will feel proud and glad.

  10. Seek Medical Help

    When your children’s departure result in excessive sadness, medical help is suggested for you. You should discuss how you feel with a doctor without delay. You will have the benefit of psychotherapy to better understand and be able to manage your feelings. With this, medication will also be helpful to reduce depression symptoms that may arise throughout the duration.

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: July 25, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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