From the time your child entered kindergarten, your identity changed. You became John’s mom or Lisa’s dad. Your life has been wrapped up in your child’s for 18 years and now they are headed out on their own. Just as your child is beginning to discover their identity in the world, you are rediscovering your own. The transition will undoubtedly be challenging, but it can be joyful as well. There are several ways you can cope and make a smooth transition.
Find Your Own Thing
Now that your child is out of the house, find time to reconnect with old friends or make new friends. You can join a book club, take a fitness class, or volunteer. Get out and about where you will meet other adults with similar interests. You can have fun pursuing a hobby and meeting new people.
Establish Communication Times
It is easy to worry about your child and with the availability of communication you could be in constant contact. Remember that your child needs time to settle in and discover their new space. Don’t bombard your child with texts, emails and messages and then panic if they don’t respond. An article from The Today Show suggests that parents talk about expectations and set up a weekly time to get in touch. Plan to talk for a bit on Monday evenings or Sunday afternoons. Keep in mind that your child’s schedule might change so be flexible but firm that you need to communicate once in awhile.
It is ok to be sad or not to be sad. You may be looking forward to more time and freedom and that is ok. You may find the empty space in your home feels like too much. Time will help you move forward and seeing your child thrive in a new situation can bring a new sense of happiness.
This transition takes a long time. You don’t have to rush it. The transition to an empty nest happens slowly as more and more life events happen. Take things one step at a time. Talk about your joys, fears and concerns with your child. Also, respect their excitement, as well as fears and concerns. Their excitement to leave is a reflection on how well you have raised them to be confident and well rounded.
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