The end of summer is near and for some parents that means it’s time to say goodbye to their child as he/she embarks on the next chapter in his/her life; whether that be moving away for college, a job, or any other journey that lies ahead. For parents out there whose children are leaving the house in the next few months, you may already be feeling the mixture of emotion that comes with your kids leaving the nest for the first time. Having to say goodbye to a child as they move out of your home and recognizing that they are becoming an adult in their own right can be a difficult transition. When your children move out, whether to attend college, start a new job, or pursue another dream of theirs, it’s easy to feel feelings of sadness and even loss as they embark on this new chapter in their lives. As a therapist in the South Bay, I often work with parents who are facing this significant life transition.
When dealing with empty nest syndrome, the first thing to remember is that it is normal to feel all sorts of emotions. You may feel both happy and sad, excited and anxious, joy and loss. You want to allow yourself to fully experience these range of feelings, however, it is important that they don’t get in the way of your child launching into this next phase. This is where dealing with the empty nest can be tricky. Finding a balance between acknowledging your feelings and the challenging nature of this transition while being fully supportive of your child will help make this transition smooth for them as they “leave the nest”.
Fortunately, there are several coping mechanisms that can be used to help guide parents through the challenges of empty nest syndrome. Keep reading below to find out how you can be proactive throughout this new phase in your, and your child’s, life.
Sometimes we may compare our own timeline to our child’s, but this won’t make leaving any easier. Rather than comparing your child’s path to your own, instead focus on how you can help them succeed while they embark on their new journey.
Though you may not be as physically close to your child when they leave, consistent communication will help allow you to still feel connected despite the distance. Phone calls, texts, emails, visits, and video chat sessions are all great ways you can reach out to your child in order to stay close.
Dealing with empty nest syndrome can be difficult, but seeking support from family and friends can be very helpful. Any loved one that has gone through the same situation may be able to provide a shoulder to lean on. If you feel that support from others just isn’t enough, consider scheduling an appointment with a local South Bay therapist so that you can address the issue in greater depth.
Once your child is out of the house, your schedule will be significantly freed up. Take advantage of this by devoting more time to other personal relationships in your life, whether that be with your spouse, friends, or other family members. Invest time in a new hobby or rediscover an old hobby you once loved. The key is to spend your time doing positive things that encourage you to focus on your life and the people and activities you enjoy most.
Always remember that your child leaving the house doesn’t mean they are moving away from you, but rather they are moving forward toward their own life goals. This is a big moment for your child and it’s something to be proud of.
If you feel you have tried to cope but are still having trouble, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Therapy might be a good option for you. If you are interested in learning more about the types of therapy I offer, such as couple’s therapy, feel free to contact me. I work with clients throughout Hermosa & Manhattan Beach as well as the rest of the South Bay. I look forward to helping you on your journey to finding fulfillment in the midst of an empty nest.