ALTHOUGH my daughter is only coming up to her 10th birthday, I already worry about ‘Empty Nest Syndrome.’
So far her childhood and our lives together have been the happiest and most productive of my life, and I can’t yet imagine what it will be like without her. But if you’ve got kids of a certain age then you will know that now that the excitement around the A-Level results are over, job vacancies are being filled and university places are being sorted out it’s time to think about whether you and your young person are ready for the next stage – independent living and the empty nest.
Local writer and coach, and my long term cohort and mate, Kay Newton, has co-written a short book with therapist, Pat Duckworth to provide parents with strategies to help them successfully navigate this stage of life. “Empty Nest is a time of transition for the relationship between you and your child as they develop into an adult. That parent/child relationship may be ending, but a new adult relationship is just beginning,” says Kay.
Plan ahead, is everything prepared? Does your young adult have all the skills they need to live alone? Have you begun to think what you will do with your spare time? Have you all discussed and agreed ground rules for visits home in the future?
Let go: We learn better by making our own mistakes. Now is not the time for ‘helicopter parenting,’ for doing everything for your young adult. Let them go it alone. Let them fall. They will learn to pick themselves up again, just as they did as toddlers.
Talk about money: Money plays an important role at this stage, yet it is often ignored and not talked about. Do you know your financial situation? Have you let them know what financial help you can give, and for how long?
Have a ritual: We celebrate all other stages of our lives, yet often fail to celebrate midlife and the next step in our family dynamics. Plan a celebration that will mean something to you all at this defining point in your lives, helping you all to focus on the future.
Seek professional help: If you still cannot cope with day-to-day tasks two weeks after your nest is empty, seek professional help. More information and the book can be found at Amazon Kindle here: http://amzn.to/1Lh5r4t
For the past 30 years Kay has lived her dream life in Mallorca. In September 2015 Kay is moving to Zanzibar in Tanzania with her husband and a 20 kg suitcase, leaving both nest and adult children behind! Find Kay’s work at: http://www.SensiblySelfish.com. More at www.mallorcamatters.com.