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mother and young adult daughter

7 Ways to Manage the Empty Nest

With the new school year underway, many parents will be experiencing a new transition in life, the “empty nest.” Empty nest syndrome is often experienced by parents of adult children leaving home (the nest) for college/university/work. The symptoms can include feelings of sadness, anxiety, loneliness, and excessive worry, and parents often feel they have to re-evaluate the role they play in their child’s life, as well as their own. There are many things that can be done to help alleviate the symptoms of empty nest syndrome, below are some simple tips for parents:

  1. Remind yourself that it is normal to experience many different feelings during this stage, and don’t compare yourself to others as all parents experience transition differently.
  2. Think of your child’s departure as a new, exciting beginning rather than a sad ending – and help them prepare for their new adventure!
  3. Practice self-care and do something nice for yourself – get a massage, go to the gym, have lunch with a friend, etc. Make a list of things you want to do for yourself!
  4. Explore your community and opportunities for volunteering, taking a course, or trying a new hobby. Try something new or something that you haven’t done in years!
  5. Enjoy this new stage and watching your child experience new things and growing on their own. Your relationship with your child will become more reciprocal.
  6. Lean on friends and colleagues for support, especially those who have experienced an empty nest.
  7. Believe in yourself and in your children. Mistakes and poor decisions are part of growing up, so things won’t always go as planned. Be an active listener and listen without judgment or trying to “fix” things. Your role is changing to that of a mentor rather than manager.

Remember you will always be a parent and your children will miss you just as much as you miss them, and they will always need your love and support, no matter what.