What Is Empty Nest Syndrome and How to Cope With It
Nowadays it is becoming more and more difficult for young people to leave the parental home and become independent, but sooner or later it happens. Most parents find that their children "fly" and a new stage of life begins for them. This can be very positive and fulfilling, but it can also make them feel sad, lonely or lost. In the event that your children have begun to live independently, empty nest syndrome may occur and you should be prepared.
This oneHOWTO article explains what Empty Nest Syndrome is, its symptoms and how you can overcome it.
What is empty nest syndrome
There comes a time when the children must leave home after a lifetime of caring for them, from feeding them to raising them, their successes and failures. As the children finally begin their own lives, joyful and even relieved feelings are mixed with feelings of sadness and nostalgia, which is perfectly human. This phase, when conflicting feelings collide, is commonly referred to as empty nest syndrome.
It can be a temporary phase that is quite natural, but it can also become more complicated over time. When this situation manifests itself with painful and deep feelings of loss and emptiness, it can lead to the fact that life without children no longer has any meaning and can even lead to diseases such as depression in the parents.
Symptoms of empty nest syndrome
When children leave home, a situation known as flying the nest, each parent handles it differently. While it is logical to miss the children and feel that the house is empty and too quiet, it can also become excessive and morbid.
Here are some of the symptoms that may indicate that the empty nest syndrome has not been installed as a natural phase, but as a worrisome situation that requires professional help from a psychologist:
- When the feelings of sadness and emptiness are not limited to a moment, but continue throughout the day. Some parents may behave in a way that suggests discouragement, abandonment and a dislike of life itself, which can lead to a troubling situation.
- Another sign to watch out for is irritability. Arguments with your partner or close relatives and sudden mood swings are important signs. Feelings of anger after the child moves out or the belief that he or she has been "ungrateful" are also important indicators that you should recognize and address.
- Abuse of harmful substances such as alcohol, stimulants or sleeping pills.
- Anchoring in the past. Experts have noted that saying goodbye to a child has some similarities to the grieving process with its phases. The inability to go through these stages, constantly returning to the past and idealizing it by constantly looking at pictures or videos of the children when they were young (e.g., by constantly looking at photos or videos of family events).
- Crying, anxiety, and unfounded fear that something bad will happen to the children.
How to cope with empty nest syndrome
Empty nest syndrome can affect individuals in different ways, and furthermore, certain circumstances can exacerbate it. There is a connection between Empty Nest Syndrome and menopause because when children leave their parents, such as when menopause occurs or when both parents stop working, this condition can worsen.
Therefore, the best way to deal with the syndrome is to be aware of it and face it. If you want to learn how to deal with the sadness when the children leave, here are some tips:
- You should accept your child's timetable rather than compare it to your own experiences or expectations. Instead, focus on helping your child succeed when he or she actually leaves home.
- Make an effort to maintain regular contact with your children, whether through visits, phone calls, emails, texts, or video chats. Even if you live apart, you can still be close to them.
- You might find it easier to adapt to this major life change if you think about all the extra time and energy you will have to devote to your marriage or other hobbies after your last child leaves home.
- Share your feelings with family and friends whose children have recently left home. If you're feeling depressed, consult your doctor or a mental health professional.
If you are feeling down and need a lift, read our article on how to use positive thinking to overcome difficult situations.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
If you want to read similar articles to What Is Empty Nest Syndrome and How to Cope With It, we recommend you visit our Mental health category.