An Empty Nest Opens New Doors

Discovering New Avenues After the Nest Empties

Saying goodbye to a child that is leaving for college or for a home of their own is one of the major milestones in a parent’s life. Mothers and fathers are going to experience a wide range of emotions after this event takes place. It is entirely natural to feel blue or depressed after the last child has left the nest. The house may feel too empty and the time that used to be filled with children is now unstructured. At the same time, there are many positive aspects of this important occurrence that will help usher in a new and exciting stage of life for every parent.


The Satisfaction of a Job Well Done

Parents who have had a child move away from home report a number of positive benefits that result from this significant transition. You may discover these and other positive outcomes in your own life:

  • The pleasure and satisfaction of observing the adult your child has grown into
  • Reflecting on the good work you have done to ensure your child’s success in the adult world
  • Deepening the unique friendship that can freely develop with your adult child
  • More time to travel and pursue other personal interests and hobbies
  • More focused attention on any children that remain at home
  • Time and space for you and your spouse to deepen your mutual relationship and romantically reconnect

These positive developments will naturally arise as time, money, and other resources are freed up and reprioritized after a child moves out. Discovering these outcomes can alleviate the sadness and inspire a number of constructive actions.


What to Do Next?

What comes after the departure of a child? Some of your future choices will depend on the circumstances your child has entered. If he or she is in college then return trips and calls home are likely to be frequent. You may be called on to provide financial and emotional support as your new student navigates the complexities of advanced education. Children who leap into full-time work may have difficulties adjusting to a brand new set of demands and will likely turn to you for help and advice. Children who have married and are now beginning to create a home of their own are probably going to need a very different sort of support. They may seek to set new boundaries that will give them the space to develop the kind of household they wish to have.

Parental duties do not really end after a child moves out. The ways you interact with your adult children and the support you provide may change but your affection and care never will.

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