remember when our second and last child moved out of the family home and went to a big city. The place felt empty and my wife and I kept wondering what were we going to do with ourselves after spending the last 20 years turning babies into young adults.
Because the “empty nest” is an experience that so many parents go through, I thought I would check on how the experts suggest we should handle it. The famous Mayo Clinic in the USA offered this advice:
- Accept the timing. Avoid comparing your child’s timetable to your own experience or expectations. Instead, focus on what you can do to help your child succeed when he or she does leave home.
- Keep in touch. You can continue to be close to your children even when you live apart. Make an effort to maintain regular contact through visits, phone calls, emails, texts or video chats.
- Seek support. If you’re having a difficult time dealing with an empty nest, lean on loved ones and other close contacts for support. Share your feelings. If you feel depressed, consult your doctor or a mental health provider.
- Stay positive. Thinking about the extra time and energy you might have to devote to your marriage or personal interests after your last child leaves home might help you adapt to this major life change.
These days it’s getting progressively harder to maintain this “empty nest”. The “boomerang generation” have arrived and the kids keep coming back. It’s now easier and cheaper for older kids to live at home. Recent studies found that 39% of adults aged between 18 and 34 were either still living in the family home or had only recently moved out.