How To Deal With Empty Nest Syndrome and Feeling Depressed When Your Child Moves Out
Transitioning from one point of life to the next can be challenging. You are leaving behind the past, unsure of what the future will look like. You are equally mourning the loss of the life you knew while looking forward to this next chapter.
This is no different when you are in a home with children. At one point, you couldn’t imagine what life would look like when you first brought them home. And while time seemed to stretch endlessly in front of you, all of a sudden, it’s here.
The time has come for your children to move out. Now, you can’t imagine a home without them.
And the truth is, it can be depressing facing this new phase of your life. Whether they are moving away for college or they are getting their own place, it’s really nerve-wracking to deal with this.
What Makes Empty Nest Syndrome So Challenging?
Empty nest syndrome does not require a clinical diagnosis but is very much a reality for many people.
It can affect people in many ways, including:
- Anxiety over your children and their well-being now that they won’t be around as much
- Difficulties adapting to the major change
- A loss of purpose
- Feeling abandoned
- Loss of identity in who you are outside of your children
3 Ways To Cope With Depression When Your Children Are Moving Out
At every stage, being a parent is challenging. One of the most important things to remember during this transitionary period is that you are still a parent. Just because your child will no longer be living under your roof does not mean that you are not a parent still.
There are many ways you can deal with the depression and feelings of overwhelm. Here are three of them.
1. Set Guidelines For Communication Expectations
This is new territory for them, too. Work together to ensure that you are honoring each other’s expectations of how often you should communicate with one another. How this looks for every parent-child relationship will be different. Some parents are ok with only texting every once in awhile with their now adult child. While others want to daily phone calls.
There’s no wrong answer to this. If it doesn’t seem to be working out for one of you, agree to revisit the conversation and come up with something different.
2. Put Yourself First
You may still have work or social obligations to attend to, as well as household duties. But, now is the perfect time to begin revisiting yourself. What activities do you like that you didn’t dedicate as much time to with the kids at home? Is there anything new you can try that you haven’t been able to?
As hard as seeing them leave the nest is, it’s important to remember to still put yourself first. Whether that is through new or old hobbies, self-care, or relaxation techniques, it will help you deal with the feelings of sadness just a little easier.
3. Remember, They Are Likely Struggling Too
When you are a young adult, you want to put a brave face on. To pretend that everything is fine and you are handling the life transitions that are your new normal just fine. But, the truth is, most young people are struggling. They are working hard to stay strong but being on their own is really scary, even if they never want to admit it.
Have an open conversation with them. Ask them how they are truly doing. Relate to them by saying that you are having a hard time dealing with this new reality. They’ll appreciate and respect you all the more for it, and with any luck, will end up opening up to you too.
Having your children leave your home for the first time can be really hard as a parent. But remember that just because they are not underneath your roof does not mean you aren’t a parent anymore. If you are fighting these feelings, depression therapy can help, reach out to learn more.