Marriage and family therapist Shatavia Thomas, DMFT, NCC, LMFT, is here to give you her best advice on how to have a full life with an empty nest!
Q: What emotions can parents expect to feel when their kids are out of the house?
A: Some empty nesters may feel lonely, bored, sad and/or anxious. Others may feel a sense of relief or pride. Many may feel excited about reinventing themselves.
Q: What challenges may arise during this time?
A: For so long, their lives have revolved around their children. Now parents may struggle with regaining a sense of identity and purpose. Likewise, reconnecting as a couple may shed light on relationship concerns overshadowed by parental responsibilities.
Q: How can parents support each other emotionally?
A: Ask for help and accept support when in need. Stay active and connected. Prioritize self-care.
Q: How can parents give appropriate emotional support to their children?
A: Parents can encourage independence and maturity by showing that they are confident in their abilities. Be a listening ear, but let them resolve their own roommate sagas, employer or professor conflicts and relationship issues. Just as you did when they were infants, let go so they can take a few steps on their own. Otherwise, they may not realize they can get back up on their own when they stumble or fall.