Your “baby” has grown up, started college, and moved away to live in a dorm or apartment. This experience can leave parents with a mix of strong emotions.
It also requires adjustments in how you and your college student relate to each other, and alters what your day-to-day life is like. Here are some ways to cope with an Empty Nest.
Allow Yourself to Feel Whatever Emotions Appear
A national survey done in 2013 by Clark University of over 1,000 parents found that 84% missed their kids once they moved out. 60% of parents said they were glad to have more time with their spouse or partner. 90% of parents said they were happy that their kids were independent.
That being said, it is not uncommon for parents to feel a sense of loneliness after their kid had moved out. It is not unusual for parents to feel sad about this new change. It is entirely possible for parents to cry because they miss their child and because they are so proud of their child’s accomplishments that led him or her to start college. Give yourself permission to feel those feelings – whatever they are.
Make an Effort to Keep in Touch
Your college student might want to call home every night and spend hours in conversation with mom and dad. Or, they might prefer a few back-and-forth texts a day instead. Emergent adults (who have just left “the nest”) are going to figure out how much parental involvement and attention they need. Let your college student guide you on the frequency, duration, and media that you two communicate in.
Another way parents can stay involved is to schedule time for fun activities. Make sure you ask your college student if the timing will work for them. Get together and enjoy a football game at your kid’s school. Ask your kid to show you around campus – and to suggest a good, local, place to eat a meal together.
Create a New Routine for Yourself
Parents may not realize it, but many emergent adults want to know that their parents will be ok without them. Now is a good time to start a new routine that focuses on your needs. Take an online course. Attend a conference about a topic you are interested in. Join a yoga class. Volunteer at an after-school group or a local shelter. Find joy again.
Related Articles at Families.com:
* Your 18-Year-Old “Child” is Technically an Adult
* The Empty Nest Syndrome (3)
* Empty Nest Syndrome for the Single Parent
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