Where did the time go? All of a sudden, your kids are turning eighteen and are making plans to attend college in another state, far, far away. It’s the time you have been wishing for and the time you have been dreading. When children fly the nest, it is a major adjustment in the lives of their parents. In this article a guest author will suggest some ways to embrace this new era in your life.
I’ve heard the saying “the days are long but the years are fast” and didn’t really grasp what it meant until suddenly my oldest is a junior in high school and driving a car and college is suddenly up next and it was just yesterday she was 5 and losing teeth! The whole empty nest thing will be sneaking up faster than I care to see it!
Empty Nest Ahead: How to Cope When Your Children Leave Home
See the Positives
As much as we love our children dearly, they also have an almost instinctive tendency to drive us crazy. From bickering teens to endless cleaning up and a non-stop food preparation service, parenting isn’t all roses. Although you may miss your offspring when they leave home to attend college, appreciate the fact you have your home back. As if by magic, a room that you have cleaned stays clean. The refrigerator no longer appears to be raided daily by starving raccoons. And what’s that sound? Peace and quiet descending on your dwelling.
Help Where You Can
Of course, although young adults believe they can fend for themselves and they don’t need their parents any more, this simply isn’t true. While they may need more freedom to find their own feet, you still need to give them emotional and financial support. You can give the future they deserve by helping fund their college education, either through savings or taking out a low-rate private parent loan. This support should not be underestimated – young college students have enough to cope with without worrying about their finances.
Know When to Back Off
It’s a delicate art, knowing when to be Mom or Dad, and knowing when to just let them be. Young adulthood is a confusing and exciting time for kids, but they need space to make their own way. Consider asking questions rather than delivering ready-made solutions. Wait to be asked for help rather than charging in like some kind of Mommy or Daddy Superhero. Do not worry, there will still be plenty of opportunities to save the day.
Cultivate Your Own Interests
When kids leave the family house to start their own life, there’s a pretty big void to fill. It’s time for you to pursue all those interests you have been meaning to try, but never had enough time. Some parents start a new business or side hustle, while others hit the gym with a vengeance or take up art, languages, or crafts. This time can be incredibly rewarding for worn out parents who may have neglected their own needs while looking after their family.
Broaden Your Horizons
Your kids probably won’t be desperate to take family vacations with you when they are at college. They will be too busy with their new set of friends. It’s a perfect time to stretch your own wings and explore the world. The key to dealing with an empty nest is to fill it with experiences of your own. From art tours in Florence to volunteering trips to Ecuador or just a relaxing getaway at an all inclusive resort, the world is your oyster. The year of the empty nest could be one of the best of your life.