Author: Ines Marinho
When people talk about children and kids, they often refer to them as babies, toddlers or teenagers. Sometimes, we all forget that the day they are becoming grown-ups will come, faster than we think. Even though they will always be our little ones, whose mission to protect will last forever, they will fly on their own.
Thinking about a family as a bird nest makes people realize that one day, the same way we did earlier, the blood of our blood will become independent with a family of their own. For some parents, this stage of life can a time of emptiness and sadness, that can easily lead to depression. This article will reveal some methods to help all the big birds leaving their little one to fly.
Prepare for their departure
If you expect that your children are leaving home for the next year, either because they are getting married, either because they will go to college, make sure that they know how to do the basic essentials to take care of themselves alone. Some of the basics are knowledge in washing clothes, cooking, dealing with neighbors, balancing the life costs and appreciate the value and commitment of hard work.
If in any case you are surprised by the fact your children are leaving, don’t panic. Accept the situation with enthusiasm, offering all of your support in what is needed. Remember all the good work you did with them and be proud. This stage of life can also be scary for them, so be aware that the parents’ support should always be present.
Avoid terrifying thoughts
Both you and your children will be better off if you consider this as a challenging and big adventure. For the new upcoming experiences, your children will be feeling a roller-coaster of emotions, from being terrified to super excited. If they are frightened by the idea of leaving, support them telling them that once they get used to the new routine, it will be familiar and not scary anymore. Tell them about your experience when you left your parents’ house and show them positive aspects of the new adventure. It is important as well to show to your kids that your house is still their permanent base, for whenever they need to return home for some reason. This will provide you and your children with a secure sense of safety and belonging. Another thing it is essential for parents: don’t be secretly happy if your kids are miserable by living on their own. Offering them to return home will just retard a situation they will have to deal with in the future. They will continue to make mistakes but just like before, they will learn from it. No one said growing is easy, and you will grow until the very last day of your life.
Keep in touch with your children permanently
Keeping up constant communication is vital for both sides. Maintain the sense of family togetherness and keep up with the news. Make sure you have a decent phone call, with no interruptions by other tasks or the connection. Schedule a weekly call and don’t put too much pressure on their shoulders by asking for more.
Be sensitive to their growth and the process of becoming adults. Use texting in the between to share the things you like. These are great means because you can share things without being overly emotional and overwhelming. Be aware that as times goes on, your children might not answer so actively as they did before. They didn’t stop caring, they just progressed on their responsibilities and social groups.
Understand the empty nest syndrome and search for help
The empty nest syndrome is a psychological condition that affects mainly women, producing grief when one or more children leave the house. This syndrome might, sometimes, coincide with other major events of life, such as retirement and menopause. Feeling sad is normal but not in a prolonged way. Look for the guidance of a psychologist to help you in this transition. It will take some time until you recover from ‘the lost’ of your little birds.
Give yourself time to grieve and work through the loss. Rely on your partner to overcome this hard period of life and enjoy yourselves, just like you did before having kids.
Enjoy your life and ‘new sense of freedom’ with your partner
Even though this doesn’t mean you should stop enjoying yourselves as a couple while having the kids at home, it is something you will have more time to do. It was a long path to educate and raise them. It had hard, joyful and strong periods to see them grow up. A child is forever, whether they live by their own, or not. You will always have that part of your heart outside of your chest, beating worried for the well-being of your own. However, be proud of your accomplishments and say to yourself: “Mission fulfilled”. Rediscover your partner, take holidays alone, enjoy the moments together and alone. Set happy goals for the future. If it happens that you are a single mom or dad, enjoy the time with your friends.
The important thing is for you to get distracted in the spare times and enjoy life. Find new friends in the gym, the church, in community cases like yoga, painting, horse riding or a book club. The house might be empty, but your heart should be allowed to be full. After all, you did an amazing job with your children.