In some of the more trying times of raising your children, you probably questioned if this day would ever come: the day you have the house to yourself.

Now that your house is empty, it might not feel as great as you thought it would. When your children move out, it can leave you feeling lost and lonely.

What is Empty Nest Syndrome?
It isn’t a clinical diagnosis. Empty nest syndrome, the Mayo Clinic notes, occurs when parents experience feelings of sadness and loss when their last child leaves home. Letting go can be painful. Parents might find it difficult to have no children at home who need their care. They might miss being a part of their child’s daily life as well as the constant companionship.

What’s the impact of Empty Nest Syndrome?
Feeling sad and crying is a normal, healthy reaction; after all, it’s a big change. It becomes a problem when you have feelings that get in the way of living your life, like depression, anxiety, stress, inability to stop crying excessively, and inability to resume a normal life of seeing friends, getting out, or resuming normal activities.

How can I cope?

  • Know your new role: Parenthood is an evolution. You might not be enforcing a curfew, taking them to baseball practice, or cooking their dinner every day, but you still have a role as their parent. You’re now a person they can go to when they need advice; you’re a resource for bigger life decisions involving career, choosing a mate, etc. You won’t stop being a mother or father to your child. You will just be parenting from a distance and in a different way.
  • Look to yourself: Honest self-evaluation and assessment is the first step on the path toward rebirth. Conduct an inventory of your life: mental, physical, and spiritual. Get back to doing what you love, or try something new. You will have more time for you; fill it with hobbies you love to do.
  • Refocus on your spouse: This is a time for you and your spouse to rekindle your romance, have privacy in the house, travel, and get to know one another again. Try to have a date night at least once a week, and make time for each other daily. Perhaps you could vow to always have dinner or watch a television show together every night.
  • Accept support: Ask other empty nesters how they coped when their last child left home. Lean on your spouse and tell them if you are having a difficult time; they might be having the same feelings. If your grief is getting in the way of you living your life, it might be time to seek out the help of a therapist.

If you’d like to set up a time to meet up with Reka, you can contact her by phone at 402-881-8125, by email at, or via Twitter or Facebook.

photo credit: Great Blue Heron and Chicks via photopin (license)