EMPTY NEST SYNDROME: WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT
Empty Nest Syndrome:
Feelings of grief and loneliness often grip parents when their children leave home for the first time, such as to live on their own or attend university. It might be harder for single parents especially if they do not a strong support system from family and friends.
The often silent or unnoticed depression that may arise when children leave home for the first time or permanently is what Empty Nest Syndrome is all about.
Some of the signs of Empty Nest syndrome are
Feelings of loneliness and Emptiness
Empty nest Syndrome may manifest in form of exaggerated feelings of loneliness and forlornness. Parents may begin to feel overwhelming sense of loneliness and abandonment with the absence of the departed kid(s). However, with proper emotional support through social interactions and investment in hobbies and other productive activities, this is not expected to last long.
Feelings of Guilt
Parents may begin to review their work of parenting their now grown kids and score themselves low because of perceived failings or memorable mistakes as parents. This may be especially aggravated if their relationships with the children are not so smooth. For this, reassurance from the children as well as close friends and relatives who have known them will be helpful.
Feelings of Uselessness
The departure of children will create a vacuum in the time and life of many parents. This may be more aggravated for parents who may have spent a lot of time catering to the needs to the children or the parent who spent more time with them, such as stay-at-home parents.
Many parents experience Empty Nest Syndrome in form of not knowing what to do with the extra time and resources at their disposal as children become less dependent on them for financial, physical and emotional needs.
Other symptoms that accompany Empty Nest Syndrome include fatigue, anxiety, indecision, difficulty in concentration and an inability to enjoy hobbies and know interests. It is often expected that such feelings will dissipate over a period of time. In rare instances however this may degenerate into depression or a kind of emotional desperation that may make such persons easy prey for emotional predators.
Parents must learn to maintain a balanced emotional state even while raising their children. It is advised that equilibrium be maintained by continuously making space for the fulfilling of their emotional and sociological needs outside their children.
It is also better as children begin to grow into adolescence and young adulthood that parents begin to prepare themselves emotionally and in other possible ways for the inevitable departure of their children to start their own lives.
Loving and wholesome relationships within the family where communication and trust is strong between parents and children will help to whether the storms of inevitable separation This ensures that parents remain a part of their children’s lives no matter where they go and vice versa.