When a teen finishes high school and leaves home (something often referred to as “empty nest syndrome”) a parent, particularly the mother, can have a hard time dealing with the emotions that come with the end of mothering a child.
Like Personal Growth on Facebook
This new stage can bring many emotions, from sadness to relief to a new sense of freedom. Whatever you might be feeling, it’s entirely normal to have trouble adjusting to being a parent with a child you have finished raising. This is especially true if this was your only child or the last one to leave home. Fortunately, there are some pretty easy ways to cope with what you’re going through.
Focus On Your Other Kids
If you still have younger children living at home, it can make you feel infinitely better to spend more time with them. This will give you a sense of purpose since these kids still need your attention and time.
It also provides an enjoyable distraction to the emotions that your teen leaving home is bringing about. Plan some fun activities that give you a chance to continue fostering your relationship with your other kids.
If you don’t have any other kids at home, consider planning a trip with your spouse, a friend or a family member. This will provide the chance to get away and forget the painful experience you are going through right now.
Create A Plan from A Distance
Just because your teen has moved away, it doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t still need you. Work together to come up with a plan for calling home, visiting one another and other easy ways to keep in touch.
Send each other texts and fun little social media memes, and the distance won’t feel so huge. Having a set time to talk on the phone gives you something to look forward to. Visits during college or work breaks are also something that can help take the sting out of being away from each other.
Engage In Something You’ve Always Wanted To Do
Now that you don’t have kids at home that need you, it gives you the perfect chance to do things you’ve always wanted to do. Maybe you’ve been putting off learning a new skill or taking a class you would love.
Now is the time to do those things. You have a more flexible schedule when you don’t have kids at home to care for, giving you time and opportunity to do the things you’ve put off. By finding a new hobby or expanding one that you have, you create your own identity that is separate from your kids.
This gives you a new sense of purpose in life that is all your own. If you are a single parent, this also gives you a fantastic opportunity to meet new people so that you have a new group of friends to spend your time with now that your child is no longer at home.
Knitting, painting, cooking classes, dancing or sewing are all great options filled with like-minded people who are probably in a similar stage of their lives.
Surround Yourself With A Support Group
It’s much harder to cope with empty nest syndrome when you’re on your own. Now is the time to surround yourself with the people who can help you get through this difficult time. If you don’t have friends who are in a similar situation, ask your doctor about a support group that you can join.
By having these trusted people in your circle, you have someone to call when things get tough. You can get advice from other moms or dads who are suffering through empty nest syndrome. You also have an opportunity to offer your own advice and tips that have worked for you.
This can be a really valuable way to make yourself and someone else feel better. Regular time spent with your support group is a great idea for a consistent schedule that you can anticipate and look forward to. You will be amazed at what a great support group can do for you.
Take A Harder Look At Your Roles Now
True, your role as a mother or father on a day to day basis is changing. Remember, you will always be your child’s parent, even though that role is changing. Re-evaluate what your other roles are so that you can expand them.
Now that you don’t have a child at home anymore, you can work harder on being a wife or husband, you can focus a bit more on growing your career, and you can make and foster relationships with other parents in a similar stage of their life. If you are single, now is a great time to start dating again. There are plenty of other people out there that are also empty nesters and looking for a new love.
Make Sure To Include Downtime In Your Life
Rushing from thing to thing and always being busy might sound like the best way to keep yourself distracted from being sad and lonely without your child. While it’s great to spend your time doing new things and having a life of your own again, it’s also vital to schedule downtime.
This allows you to rest and relax while also giving you the chance to reflect on this new chapter in your life. If you’re always busy, you can’t reflect, and you set yourself up for total burnout, which will only make you feel worse than you already do.
Make one or two nights a week the ones you spend at home, watching movies, giving yourself a manicure, playing an instrument or just reading a book. You’ll feel infinitely better with this built-in relaxing time and your sanity won’t suffer from it.
Empty nest syndrome is something that is pretty much inevitable when your teens grow up and move away from home. You can’t really get around this, but by taking measures you can turn it into something that is exciting rather than devastating.
You’ll always be your child’s safe place and they will need you, even from a distance. However, you also have an exciting new chapter in your life to look forward to.
You’ll also enjoy learning to create a new relationship with your adult children and that will be something you’ll enjoy too. As you gain new interests, your life will take on new meaning and will be a more well-rounded life that your child will appreciate and will set a great example for them as they get older.
You are also going to love being able to focus on yourself and your personal relationships. Yes, it’s sad to say goodbye to your teen, but at the same time, it’s also a fantastic new chapter that you can enjoy and love in a whole new way.