The Empty Nest Syndrome
By Erika Ortiz
There comes a time when parents reach the end of raising their kids to become young adults that have to venture off into the real world. As they prepare to face all of life’s trials and experiences that await them, what’s going on with the parents? Many some parents experience the empty bird’s nest syndrome. It is not a mental disorder or illness of some sort; however, it is a deep and perpetuating feeling of sadness parents temporarily experience when their child finally leaves to create a life of their own. Why does this happen? Parents spend the majority of their time raising their children and investing an immense amount of love and care towards them as well. Mom would wake you up for school; Dad would pick you up from practice; Mom made dinner for the family; Dad made you help him with fixing up something in the house every morning on the weekend. Parents’ entire lives revolve around essentially taking care and nurturing the development of their children. Once the realization the child is now “leaving the nest” parents are left with the question; “What now?”
A great way to cope with this feeling is to start a hobby or activity. Try taking up running again; try cooking that one meal you saw on the Food Network you always wanted to or read that book you saw in the bookstore. It’s important to now refocus on yourself as parents. Parents sometimes suffer an identity crisis or “mid-life crisis” where they feel they lose themselves individually. Of course, your children will always be your children, and you will always be there for them. But realize that it is also necessary to now invest time in you as well. Another way to cope is to try and rekindle your relationship with your spouse or, for single parents, go out and date. Of course, if this feeling becomes severe or you feel helpless, please consider getting professional help. The empty nest syndrome can easily slip into something serious.
If you or someone you know is experiencing severe loneliness or sadness, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com