Learning To Cope With An Empty Nest
It is difficult to think of the day when your kids won't be in diapers, going on play dates, dealing with homework issues, or going to sports practices. Yet the day they grow up is inevitable, and one day your kids will pack up and leave for college or a home of their own as they begin a new, exciting journey in life. Many parents find this an emotionally challenging experience. You are certainly not alone in feeling lost and aimless. Rest assured that there is help for this transition in life.
While this transition may be tough on you as a parent, the knowledge that the physical distance between you will not lessen the strength and value of your relationship will help many a parent accept this change. This change marks the beginning of a new dimension to your relationship. While biologically you are still the parent, the independence of your child will change the dynamics of your earlier relationship to that of friends. You can continue to teach your child many important things in adulthood, and you can learn some things from your child as well. This time around, the relationship is more on an equal footing, since you are both independent adults. It?s a great feeling to know that your child still needs your love and support, just in a different way.
An empty nest can initiate a new level of romance in your marriage. If you are constantly dealing with the demands of your little ones, it can be easy to neglect your marriage. Even in the very best of circumstances, partners have difficulty being spontaneous when there is always something going on or someone needing attention. However, with the kids now out of the picture, you can go back to being newlyweds, taking off for an impromptu dinner date, going for a long romantic drive, or simply spending the night talking to each other, rediscovering the joy of just being together. This is a chance for you to fall in love all over again with the person who stood by you as you raised your kids. Strengthen the bonds of friendship you have with your spouse or even rediscover your romantic side.
Single parents especially would have missed out on companionship and romance. Now you can take this opportunity to meet new people, rekindle old friendships, and carve out a new social life for yourself.
As a parent of minors, you have to put your child ahead of your own needs and desires. Now you can serve yourself first, take care of your own needs, and cut nobody's meat but your own. Your needs don't have to be shoved into the background any longer. You will be able to do things that you've wanted to do, but couldn't. How about taking a trip! You can go anywhere you want. If there is a hobby you wanted to try, you'll have the time to give it a whirl. You can do what you want to do now.
It takes a while for people to become accustomed to the idea of their children leaving. This is not the time to do anything rash. Don't do things you might regret just because you want to fill up an empty space in your heart. Once you are comfortable with your new situation, then you can pursue some of those activities you would never have done before.
You should, however, continue to keep in touch with your kids. Let them know you are always available for them by contacting them on a regular basis. It is your responsibility to make sure your children have all the tools necessary to live on their own. All that you can do now is be there for them, and hope that they make you and the rest of your family proud.