How you can enjoy the empty nest

October 6, 2017 by From Mayo Clinic News Network, Mayo Clinic News Network

Sending children off to college or into the real world is usually a proud time for parents. But there also can be sadness, especially when it's the last child to leave home. Empty nest syndrome isn't a clinical diagnosis. Instead, it's a phenomenon in which parents experience feelings of sadness and loss when the last child leaves home.

"It's common for to find letting go to be a painful experience - even though they actively encourage their children to be independent," says Dr. Jessica Sosso, Family Medicine, Mayo Clinic Health System. "Parents might find it difficult to suddenly have no children at who need their care. They might miss being a part of their children's daily lives and their constant companionship. Parents with only one or those who strongly identify with their role as a parent might have a particularly difficult time adjusting."

Sosso explains that as hard as the change may be, having an empty nest can bring benefits to parents. Recent studies suggest that an empty nest might reduce work and family conflicts. Having an empty nest also gives parents a new opportunity to reconnect with each other, improve the quality of their marriage and rekindle interests for which they previously might not have had time.

If you're experiencing feelings of loss due to empty nest syndrome, Sosso suggests these tips:

- Accept the timing.

Avoid comparing your child's timetable to your own experience or expectations. Instead, focus on what you can do to help your child succeed when he or she leaves home.

- Keep in touch.

You can continue to be close with your after they leave home, thanks to phone calls, emails, texts, video chats and personal visits.

- Seek support.

Lean on loved ones for support. Share your feelings. If you feel depressed, consult your .

- Stay positive.

Think of the extra time and energy you will have to devote to your marriage or personal interests.

"If your last child will soon be leaving home, planning ahead can help keep empty nest syndrome at bay," says Sosso. "Look for new opportunities in your personal and professional life. Keeping busy or taking on new challenges at work or home can help ease the sense of loss."

Explore further: Homesickness and empty nest syndrome—coping with separation

1 shares

Related Stories

Homesickness and empty nest syndrome—coping with separation

August 15, 2016
Homesickness is not uncommon among young people heading off to their freshman year in college, and they might not be the only family members dealing with some separation anxiety. For many parents, empty nest syndrome is a ...

Emigration of children to urban areas can protect parents against depression

December 3, 2012
Parents whose children move far away from home are less likely to become depressed than parents with children living nearby, according to a new study of rural districts in Thailand. The study, led by scientists at King's ...

Is empty nest best? Changes in marital satisfaction in late middle age

December 2, 2008
The phrase "empty nest" can conjure up images of sad and lonely parents sitting at home, twiddling their thumbs, waiting for their children to call or visit. However, a new study, reported in Psychological Science, a journal ...

All grown up and gone for good? Advice on empty-nest syndrome

August 30, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—Your high school graduate is off to college to embark on a newly independent life. But they're not the only one making a transition: parents too face emotional and lifestyle adjustments. With advice on ...

As Kids go to College, Empty Nest Syndrome for Parents Not so Bad After All

August 12, 2008
(PhysOrg.com) -- It's that time of year when parents are buying college supplies and textbooks, while their children are packing their bags and preparing to leave the 'nest' for the first time.

Back to school, back to planning for kids with autism, ADHD

September 4, 2017
(HealthDay)—The start of a new school year isn't always easy, especially for kids with developmental and behavioral issues, such as autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Recommended for you

Self-lubricating latex could boost condom use: study

October 17, 2018
A perpetually unctuous, self-lubricating latex developed by a team of scientists in Boston could boost the use of condoms, they reported Wednesday in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

How healthy will we be in 2040?

October 17, 2018
A new scientific study of forecasts and alternative scenarios for life expectancy and major causes of death in 2040 shows all countries are likely to experience at least a slight increase in lifespans. In contrast, one scenario ...

Study finds evidence of intergenerational transmission of trauma among ex-POWs from the Civil War

October 16, 2018
A trio of researchers affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research has found evidence that suggests men who were traumatized while POWs during the U.S. Civil War transmitted that trauma to their offspring—many ...

Father's nicotine use can cause cognitive problems in children and grandchildren

October 16, 2018
A father's exposure to nicotine may cause cognitive deficits in his children and even grandchildren, according to a study in mice publishing on October 16 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology by Pradeep Bhide of Florida ...

Many supplements contain unapproved, dangerous ingredients: study

October 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—U.S. health officials have issued more than 700 warnings during the last decade about the sale of dietary supplements that contain unapproved and potentially dangerous drug ingredients, new research reveals.

Age at which women experience their first period is linked to their sons' age at puberty

October 12, 2018
The age at which young women experience their first menstrual bleeding is linked to the age at which their sons start puberty, according to the largest study to investigate this association in both sons and daughters.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.