If you have children, you might have once thought that when they grow up, you would stop having sleepless nights worrying about them. It seems normal to worry about a baby, a child, and especially a teenager who might try to stay out all night long. But, why do parents still worry excessively about their adult children?
Studies have shown that parents going through empty nest syndrome, when an adult child first leaves home, are more likely to have sleepless nights. While most think about mothers worrying, the study showed that fathers worried just as much.
It can be difficult to transition to a childless home. A parent might go from a phase where they saw and talked to their child every day to the child moving out and the parent worrying about what they are doing. Parents might worry about their child getting into trouble, dangerous situations, having enough food and money, etc.
The parents may also feel lonely and struggle to transition to a household that includes only the married couple. Research also showed that the parents who were perhaps overly involved in the children’s lives suffered from empty nest syndrome the most.
If you find yourself struggling with empty nest syndrome, know that it is completely normal. You will always worry and miss your child, no matter how old they get. This is again, completely normal! There are several things you can do to relieve this stress and help yourself transition.
The most important thing you can do is to take care of yourself. Celebrate the fact that you no longer have to take care of your children in the same way. They can now take care of themselves and are more financially and physically independent. Now is the time to exercise, eat well, and do more things for yourself.
What is something you’ve always wanted to try but felt like you didn’t have enough time? Start a new hobby, volunteer, or simply go out and do things that you like to do like seeing a movie, shopping, or spending time with friends.
If you find yourself struggling and self-care, writing down your thoughts, or talking to friends and family aren’t helping, you might want to see a therapist to help you during this transition period. This can be especially helpful if you find yourself very sad, not just worried. A therapist can give you specific coping methods or even help you with your relationships with your children or significant other.
Once you start to keep busy, you will likely feel better about your transition. This can be an exciting time and also a fun time to watch your relationship grow into more of a friendship with your adult children.
If you found this article informative, please SHARE with your friends who might be dealing with empty nest syndrome!