In the first few months of separation, parents may tell themselves that their children will never miss a holiday or a chance to visit in their free time at home like they used to. But the truth is, there will be factors that might affect how often they will visit you at home. Your home is no longer their home. However, they will hopefully visit from time to time and spend time with you when they can.
Grief and Loneliness
Once you realize that you will not spend as much time with your child as you used to, you may start feeling sorry for yourself. You might feel like you are getting really old and lose your sense of purpose. At this stage, you might experience the negative effects of empty nest syndrome. Recognizing the negative feelings you might be experiencing will help you overcome it before it gets worse.
Acceptance and Relief
Once you overcome your loneliness and accept the fact that separation might benefit you and your child, you will be ready to move on. You should be proud while you watch them live their lives on their own just like how you taught them. Your child is moving towards better opportunities and so are you.
Joy and Freedom
Once you realize that you are not solely responsible for your child’s life, you will free yourself from worrying too much (you still think of your child’s welfare, but now you trust him or her more). Empty nests open a whole lot of possibilities. You may have little freedoms and opportunities that you have neglected while the kids were growing up. You now have time for your husband or wife. With less people in the house, you may have more money than usual and save up for your retirement. With more time for yourself, you might discover new hobbies or new opportunities.
How will you cope with empty nest syndrome?
If you are experiencing stages of empty nest syndrome, you can:
- Accept the timing. If your children move out early and other kids in the neighborhood do not, stop comparing them. People have their own timetables. What your child needs is your support and approval for him or her to succeed in life.
- Keep in touch. Your child may not live with you anymore but it doesn’t mean you can’t speak with each other. Make time for phone calls, video calls, emails, or texts. Visiting his or her new place might help you stop worrying about his or her welfare.
- Seek support. You don’t have to suffer alone. Share your thoughts with your partner. Relatives who might relate with your situation might give you some useful advice. Reconnect with old friends to make up for the years you had as a busy dad or a mom.
- Stay positive. You have to see things from a positive point of view. Positive thinking may help you adapt to this transition. Separation may open opportunities for you and your child.
If you are a child who just moved out and you suspect your parents are experiencing stages of empty nest syndrome, help them cope by: