Criselda C. Abad-Santos, M.D.
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|Posted on January 25, 2018 at 8:47 AM|
What is empty nest syndrome?
Empty nest syndrome occurs when parents experience feelings of sadness and loss as their last child leaves home. Though many parents encourage and support their children in becoming independent, watching them leave is nonetheless painful. You might wake up to a shockingly quiet house, no longer filled with children who need your attention. There is plenty to miss — being involved in their daily lives, the constant sound of people around and all the time you spent taking care of their needs. Many parents feel depressed, confused and a deep sense of purposelessness when they no longer have a child’s needs taking up so much of their time.
On top of being plagued by these powerful emotions, you might also be concerned about your child’s safety out there in the world alone. You may even doubt that they’ll be able to take care of themselves without you there to guide them. This transition can be an especially big struggle if your last child leaves the nest sooner than you hoped. If you only have one child or see your main purpose in life as being a parent, you might have a significantly harder time adjusting to an empty nest.What’s the impact of empty nest syndrome?
In the past, people thought that empty nest syndrome, if not dealt with, would lead to depression, substance abuse, identity crisis and marriage/relationship issues. This can still be true.
Those at the greatest risk of experiencing empty nest symptoms are:
The good news is that while those issues are a concern, they aren’t a concern for everyone. For most, symptoms of empty nest syndrome decrease over time and can be prevented, mitigated or treated.
Recent studies suggest that an empty nest might actually enhance lives by improving relationships and boosting freedom — both yours and your child’s. After an initial period of loss, or manageable fluctuations of sadness, many empty nesters saw a reduction in work stress and family conflicts. When your last child leaves home, yes, it can be sad, but it can also be a new opportunity to reconnect with your partner, your friends and your life. Without the added stress of kids at home, you have more time to devote to your marriage, hobbies and yourself. One of the best ways to cope healthily with an empty nest is to be prepared.
How can I get ready for an empty nest?
Categories: MENTAL HEALTH NEWS