When children move out or go away to school, it can be a devastating ordeal for parents. Here are some tips for surviving this transition.
Accept. It’s imperative to realize the role you play in your child’s life. You must allow the child to branch out and become a self-sufficient adult.
Thinking that your kids will never leave you and encouraging them to stay a little while longer is not the way to go. Remember: you have been their parent for a long time. While it’s time for them to let go and become the adult they want to be, it’s also time for you to grow and change. Accepting this may take time, so remember to take it one day at a time.
Do not allow yourself to go into denial about the fact that your kids leaving. They will go at some point in their lives – and it is up to you to decide what you are going to do about it.
Prepare. The best way to prepare yourself for the empty nest is to rediscover the things that you were passionate about before your life was consumed by all things “parenting.”
Think of all the successful, happy and focused people you know and take note of what they all have in common -- most likely they are all living full lives and feeling passionate about what they are doing.
Do you remember the pleasure you felt doing things you really enjoyed? Spend some time thinking about it and write down all the things you can remember. Even if you were not a champion or an expert at something, include it on the list.
Enjoy. Did you love to paint or draw? Take an art class! Can you decorate cakes? Sharpen your skills and donate your goodies to a local shelter.
Are you ‘crafty’ and love making things? Pick up some wool and start knitting – hospitals are always in need of tiny booties and small knitted garments for the premature babies. If you can sew, try re-purposing some of your old clothes.
If you enjoyed a sport before children, try it again! If you’re a bit rusty, find a coach, take lessons at the local club, or volunteer at a tournament so you can refresh your skills.
Do you like to sing in the shower? Take singing lessons or join a local choir. It’s difficult to be sad when you’re singing!
Volunteer, take a class, find a new hobby or pick up an old one.
Take a trip. Give yourself some time to re-charge your batteries and take the vacation you always have wanted to take.
Get support. If you continue feeling depressed and can’t seem to move on, contact BJC EAP.