You spend 18+ years raising your children, then all of a sudden, they’re out of the house living their adult lives. This major transition can create a broad range of emotions, a newfound freedom, and potentially an identity crisis. How can parents successfully navigate this transition and even embrace new opportunities?
Podcast guest, Celia Dodd, is here to help us navigate through. Celia is a journalist and author of ‘The Empty Nest: Your changing family, your new direction’, which was inspired by her own experiences when her three children left home. She set out to discover whether other parents – fathers as well as mothers – felt as sad and confused as she did.
In this episode, Celia shares her experience when her children left home and how it caused her to write a book on how the empty nest syndrome. She shares what the parents who most successfully dealt with the transition had in common and how parents can turn this emotional time into an opportunity. Celia also offers advice for how to update the parent-child relationship, as the child becomes an adult.
Even if you don’t have a child leaving home for years, this podcast will get you prepared for the empty nest when it comes.
- The experience of feeling the empty nest is not just limited to women who do not work.
- It’s a major transition that is natural and not pathological.
- It’s natural to experience an identity crisis as the core identity of a parent is as a mom or dad. Without daily contact, parents can feel like they don’t have a purpose, and begin to reflect on their core identity.
- Parents who dealt with the empty nest most successfully felt ready – both the kid and parents were ready. The parents felt like they equipped their child to live on their own – they had an emotional toolbox.
- Men and women often express their feelings about their children leaving in different ways. Women may be more emotional and express concern, while men may be more upbeat and optimistic. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that men are not affected by the situation.
- It’s important for parents to start exploring new activities before their children leave home. This can help provide continuity through the transition and act as a bridge between the old and new stages of life.
- Parents need to resist the temptation to follow their children on social media, trusting that they can cope on their own.
- Talk to them like adults, avoiding language that is patronizing. It’s also important to have faith in them, allow them to make mistakes, and be there for them when they need support.
- There are positive aspects of an empty nest, such as the newfound freedom and opportunities it can bring for both parents and children.
Celia’s Instagram – @celiaruthdodd
Celia’s Twitter – @celia_dodd
Celia Dodd is a journalist and author of books on major life transitions, including ‘The Empty Nest: Your changing family, your new direction’ (Piatkus), which was inspired by her own experiences when her three children left home. She set out to discover whether other parents – fathers as well as mothers – felt as sad and confused as she did. Her latest book is ‘All Grown Up: Nurturing relationships with adult children’ (Bloomsbury).