Who Are Empty Nesters? - The Bittersweet Phenomenon

Written by: Shruthi Chacko – M Sc (Psychology)

Last updated date : December 19, 2022

Parenthood is a beautiful thing. It is heart warming to see your kids grow and evolve into marvellous adults. In fact, parenthood is an emotional rollercoaster of ups and downs. From hearing your child spill out their first words to them going away for college. It is beautiful, at the same time very painful. Children become a very significant part of your life. Perhaps, you stumbled upon this article, because your child moved into a different city or has gone away for college. You might be feeling lonely and lost. But, don’t worry,read this article to know, Who are empty nesters? What should an empty nester expect? to tackle this emptiness when your kids leave you.

“Very practical suggestions” Peter

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Chapter 1:

Who Are Empty Nesters?

Now you must wondering who are empty nesters? What should an empty nester expect?. This happens when your kids leave home for college, work or marriage. You might be feeling a sense of loss and grief after they have left. This is quite normal, most of the parents go through this. Honestly, this is yet, just another phase in life and it will pass, you just need to be patient through this transition. Basically, one becomes an empty nester when they feel sadness, anxiety and a loss of purpose, when your children move out of the house to become adults.

In fact, this is a tricky time for both, kids and parents. Both of them are undergoing a very crucial transition in their lives. During this time, it might be difficult for some to truly understand what the other is going through. You are probably reading this article when your child is heading out to the world to make their own sense of identity away from their comfortable safe haven, you should be very proud of them ( Which, I am sure you already are!).

The fact is, it is hard to let go. But, just as your parents transitioned into this phase when you were young, now it is your chance. Try to embrace this change and celebrate the baby stepsof adulthood that your kid is transitioning into. It is indeed a very bittersweet time for empty nesters.

Chapter 2:

Is Empty Nests Syndrome Culture Specific?

Now, that’s a very good question to ask. Let’s look at empty nest syndrome from an eastern and western perspective. Parents in the west, emphasise to raise independent children. For example, kids are encouraged to sleep in a different bedrooms, moving out of home when they are 18. On the other hand, south asian parents are quite protective of their kids. For example, in India, it is culturally normal for kids to stay with parents till they get married. Although there are cultural differences, parents in both cultures get affected by empty nest syndrome.

However, most of the time, parents find it tricky to get out go this phase due to the lack of awareness and knowledge about this syndrome. This issue is especially neglected among the south asian parents who are now facing the brunt of it.

Chapter 3:

The Bittersweet Phenomenon of Empty Nesters

Empty nest syndrome does not affect all parents and caregivers, but those who do commonly describe it as “bittersweet.” What should an empty nester expect? It combines the melancholy of living alone for the first time with the fascination of finally getting time for yourself.

The important thing to remember is that even if you feel a little bit of grief or loneliness, others around might say it is all okay. But, the moment you feel it very hard for you to manage, always reach out for help. But, it can quickly escalate into severe depression, anxiety, a sense of lost of purpose, and other symptoms. As a result, it can become a major issue for single parents or parents. Especially, for the stay-at-home parents.

Chapter 4:

Why Is It So Hard to Be Empty Nesters?

Mostly, parents spend almost half of their lives, caring and loving for their kids. In a nutshell, parents live for their children. Children become the centre of their universe. It gets hard to let go. This transition can give you some time to reconnect with yourself. This is the perfect time for you get back into your hobbies.

Sometimes parents say ” Well, I really do not know what I like. I have spent my life taking take of my kids”. Now, that can be difficult at times. But, it also provides an excellent opportunity to learn more about yourself and hobbies. You could go back to work. You could probably volunteer for a cause you truly believe in.  Sometimes, just chatting with people about the difficult transition that you may be going through may be very helpful. Especially, if you’re with a significant other or your spouse, making sure that you’re communicating with each other about what’s going on is important.

Chapter 5:

Signs of Being an Empty Nester?

There are various kids of empty nesters. What can an empty nester expect? These are some of the signs-
Even though you have a spouse, friends, and coworkers, yet you can still feel lonely. You might have just called your kid in the morning, but tears fill up in your eyes as you go pass their old room.
You might not be able to concentrate as well as you used to. For example, you could be writing a work report when your attention wanders towards how your children are doing.
A Loss of Purpose
Parenting, especially as a stay-at-home mom/dad, is a full-time job. Since you do not see your children on a daily basis, it could leave a huge void in you.  This emptiness, or sense of absence, may make you feel as though you have no purpose in life.
Rethinking Relationships and Roles
You and your spouse are no longer required to parent on a daily basis. Naturally, questions arise. So, what exactly do you chat about? Is there truly anything you have in common anymore? You most likely do. This may offer the chance to restructure your connection.

Chapter 6:

Tips That Will Really Help You ( For Empty Nesters)

This phase is difficult and emotional. But, don’t worry, it will pass, like how every other difficult phase in life does. So hang in there and be hopeful about what the future holds for you. Try out these tips below to fight off the blues of empty nest syndrome.
Laugh More
Yeah, this is something which anybody can do. Just laugh! Find ways to make your interactions with others more positive and light hearted. Sharing funny stories, watching a funny film. Laughter can lift you spirits. It can really help, I know it sounds very simple, but it really does help.
Reconnect With Yourself
It could be an opportunity to rediscover yourself other than role as a parent for your children. You can pursue interests and meet new people. Perhaps, you may not have had the time when you were raising your children.
Get To Know Your Adult Child
Learning new ways to talk with your children might be good to both of you. Asking what works for them is a wonderful place to begin. Texting? What about phone calls? This keeps you both well connected.
Self Care for Empty Nesters
It is essential to take care of yourself. This could be the perfect time to do it. You can eat wholesome meals. Have fun. Go to spas. Go travelling. Being an empty nester could provide you the time you need to rejuvenate your mind, heart, body and soul. Take care, your nest might be half empty or completely empty. But, your life doesn’t have to be. It can be full of love, positivity and growth for the next chapter in your life.

"Very practical suggestions" Peter

95 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

$9.00 $12.00

25% discount