When Your Children Leave the Nest…

Empty Nest

No, none of my children is leaving the nest yet. Luckily, they are still not that old. Though it won’t take long before they grow up and turn into young adults. I’m dreading that moment. How am I going to cope with that, if at the moment I’m struggling to cope with one of my children leaving the nest for just a week?

Empty nest syndrome, the profound sadness that can come when children grow up and move out, is usually associated with mothers. But, men also experience grief when the last child departs–a problem that can be compounded by other issues. At the same time as kids leave home, careers tend to start leveling off. And suddenly, there is an abundance of time with the spouse –which isn’t always positive.


From http://everydayclimb.wordpress.com/

As Wayne Parker points out, the biggest challenge of being an empty-nester has little to do with the separation from the child, and everything to do with a need to redefine the relationship between the parents. Some spouses report that, because so much of family life has for twenty years or more revolved around children, they no longer have much in common. Sometimes their relationship have devolved into simply the relationship of a mother and a father; with the children no longer occupying center stage,  they might need to work through some critical relationship issues.

From Learning to live in an empty nest

Tips for Surviving the Empty Nest Experience

Recognize the reality of change. It is helpful to remember that moving into the empty nest stage of life is a major change, but it is one that has both positives and negatives. Accepting the reality of this new transition and knowing some of the changes to expect is helpful.

Focus on relationships. Now that the demands of parenting in your immediate family are less, it is good to remember that life is about relationships. Spend time with your partner and other friends. You can’t just decrease the time you spend on your relationship with your son or daughter; you have to add time to other important relationships.

middle-ages-friendship-ftrFrom Parade

Take care of yourself. You might have put a lot of things on hold for yourself as you have cared for your family. With some additional time, it’s smart to create a little more time for yourself. Get your exercise regime back; maybe rediscover an old hobby/interest or travel a little more. It’s a great time for refreshing, and you deserve it.

From Over50Feeling40

Make a dream list. Sit down and make a list of things you have dreamed about doing during the active parenting years and prioritize. Maybe it’s time for the trip to Hawaii or the new fly rod.

empty nesters happyFrom Huffington Post

Keep connected to the kids. You don’t stop being a dad when the kids are no longer at home; the roles just change. Email the kids (and grandkids when they come) periodically to stay in touch. Exchange digital photos or videos. Send care packages to the college kids; they will appreciate the extra touch.

old man thinking about his childrenFrom CompleteWellbeing

Consider volunteering. There are so many worthwhile organizations in your community where your talents can be used. If you really miss your connection with your teenagers, consider the Scouting program, Boys and Girls Clubs or the Big Brothers group. Your local elementary school would really appreciate your help with childhood literacy.

From BigBuddy

Empty nesting can be a challenging time, but being prepared and having a game plan for making it through this natural transition can ease the pain and help you find new opportunities for growth and fun. Take the most out of it before:

From Empty Nest Syndrome


Adapted from:



29 thoughts on “When Your Children Leave the Nest…

  1. bkpyett says:

    I love to see my children making their way in the world. Of course at first it was difficult, but now, my husband and I are more busy than ever! I really don’t know how I fitted in a career. Life is wonderful and each stage of life has its own benefits.

    • Otrazhenie says:

      So true. I’m enjoying every second of my life with children and hope, once they leave the nest, I’ll be enjoying that new chapter of my life too 🙂

  2. My kids left home wanting a taste of flatting and now they are back. So my door is always open for them, children come and go. 🙂

    • Otrazhenie says:

      It looks like you have a very happy nest there. 🙂

      • When kids grow up, they leave their nest and even when they return, they are physically there and yet not there. Often times, we as parents tend to treat our children exactly the same as we cared for them as babies and expects them to talk to us, share things with us (that’s my personal view) but there is a gap, when the children grow up even if they are physically there, they are no longer there. I sensed in with my two children (22 & 24) and they talked to each other much more than talking to me. It’s the generation gap perhaps. My nest is full and it is peaceful more than happy but it is always a joy to have your close ones close by. 🙂

      • Otrazhenie says:

        You are a very wise parent. Thanks for your insightful comment 🙂

      • You are most welcomed. Have a blessed weekend.

  3. words4jp says:

    I have experienced this with one going away to college. I do not have a spouse or a partner. I wish very much. I have my other son part of the week when he is with me – he lives with his dad too. When he leaves in two years – well, I will have to let you know, then. 😉

  4. Christina Marietti says:

    We have five children…our first one graduated last year….and we will continue to have one graduate every year from now until 2017. It’s become a blur and it is definitely challenging! Thanks for the suggestions!

    • Otrazhenie says:

      Wow, five children graduating in five years – that’s a challenge. Imagine if later on they all start having children at the same time 😉

      • Christina Marietti says:

        Yes, the biggest challenge has been the emotional roller coaster. It feels like every week we are dealing some type of life event. For example, last week we had one taking the ACT, two finding out they were going to prom, one getting his drivers license and I was filling out graduation announcements. All great things but they can stir up a lot of bittersweet emotion. I honestly hadn’t thought of them having children and at the same time. As long as it’s not too soon I’m excited for it! 😉

  5. Love your post on Empty Nest as I can relate so well. I also feel the pangs, with my daughter almost finishing up High School. This is quite in lines with my post ‘Pre Empty Nest Syndrome’.

    • Otrazhenie says:

      Pre-Empty Nest Syndrome – very good term. Loved your post. I still have a few years with a ‘full nest’ and am trying to get the most out of this stage of my life before my nest gets empty. Have a wonderful Easter with your family 🙂

  6. Mélanie says:

    We have 2 completely desired kids and we did know from the very beginning that we hadn’t wanted them for ourselves(which is so selfish!) and we have brought them up for themsleves… it’s been normal, logical and human for us to let them “fly” away and out of the family nest… 🙂 My point is that the relationship between parents is extremely important: if it’s always been loving, solid and built upon mutual respect – a positive example for them, their kids’ departure will be less hard and quite bearable… N.B. This is our personal experience and I’ve know other families in similar case(s), but I guess you’ll make it, too… Eastern girls are strong, right?! 🙂
    * * *
    Have a merry Easter day/evening and my very best, now and always… ❤

  7. Steve Morris says:

    Maybe you should start a hobby, like blogging or something 🙂

    • Otrazhenie says:

      He-he, that’s exactly one of the reasons why I started blogging – to give my children a bit of ‘breathing’ space while getting myself ready for the empty nest stage of life. 🙂

  8. gilanisumbal says:

    This is such a beautiful post. I could so totally relate to it by keeping my parents in my mind.
    Love it 🙂

  9. was such a great post that I felt compelled to comment. Our son “flew the coop” over 10+ years ago and I remember being so fearful – both for him and for us! My life up to his departing had been full and I really struggled with my new identity. I missed him so much! I knew he had to grow up and grow away but what to do with the empty hours?!
    We now have a beautiful Granddaughter who is almost 2 and lucky us we get to see her almost every week. I am always grateful fot that and treasure our time together.
    There is a quote somewhere that says life is like two bookends and it matters what happens hetween the goal posts.
    Enjoy the childhood, teen, and young adult stages. Make a loose plan of what you will do with the “empty hours” . You did have a life before you had children! Above all take care of yourself, do things that make you happy and love your Life.

  10. What a great post! When my son left, I bought a cat… Then my cat left! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA loved this…

  11. ittymac says:

    So very true. Good advice.

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