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What To Do When Your Children (Finally) Leave Home

Families For Life


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An Empty Nest


Empty nest syndrome is the feeling of loss or sadness when your kids leave home or move out to start a new family.


It’s a complex feeling. On one hand you are happy for your children. They have grown up and are learning to take care of themselves. On the other hand, you feel sad and lost when they move away from you.


The empty nest syndrome can be experienced by both parents but mothers are usually more affected by it. This is because many mothers have dedicated their lives to raising their kids. They see motherhood as their top priority. Even working mothers experience it. Once her last child moves out, a mother may have to battle feelings of loneliness, worthlessness and disorientation.


Look Beyond the Moment


Rather than dwell on the grief, prepare for it and seize this chance to take back your life!


First, prepare for the empty nest syndrome. Plan in advance for the day when all your kids will grow up and move out. Come to terms with the potential grief you might feel. Keep a journal and jot down your feelings if it helps.


Start Preparing for a New You Today


Draft a list of things you will do “one day” and make today the day to kick start them. Enroll in short courses or even a degree. Make new friends. Take up a new hobby or sign up for volunteer work. Keep up a regular routine such as health care and exercising.


Be aware of your feelings and share them with your partner. Allow yourself to feel upset. Get advice and support from friends and relatives who have gone through this phase in life. Get tips on how to cope. They will be the best people to go to for advice.


Spend time with your partner and enjoy each other’s company without any distractions from the kids. Recreate a home that reflects your own likes and desires without having to consider the needs of your children. Very soon, you will start to enjoy the empty nest experience.


The empty nest period can actually be an exciting period of your life after years of devoting your life to your kids. Your life becomes your own again. The empty nest marks the beginning of yet another adventure in your life.


Finally, if you find it hard to cope with the change, seek professional help and counseling.


Adapted from an article first published on Marriage Central website.


Article first appeared in Families for Life (hyperlink www.familiesforlife.sg) on Sep 2015. Republished with permission.

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