Empty Nest Syndrome: What It Means And How It Can Be Managed?
By Shreya Gupta +2 more
By Shreya Gupta +2 more
As the name suggests, ‘empty nest’ syndrome refers to the feeling of emptiness that parents go through when their children leave home for work and other reasons. Children grow up and become responsible enough to live alone, they learn to venture into new things and need to step out to meet their personal and professional demands. Parents on the other hand feel abandoned, miss the time spent with their children and this, in turn, can cause them to feel depressed, lonely and alienated. It is not a psychiatric illness but just a term used to denote the condition of parents when the last child leaves home.
As a parent, you want to provide your child with a good education, help them become independent and wish that they prosper in life. This often means your child might have to leave for a boarding school or go to college or work in a place far away from home and this can trigger mixed emotions and become really hard to deal with as parents.
At a young age, children are more dependent on their parents for every little thing, for their meals or studies and the sudden transformation usually affects both the parents.
Some parents are more susceptible to empty nest syndrome than others. This may be because of having a single child or if your child leaves earlier than what you expected. Some parents may find living alone really difficult and have an emotional breakdown. Parents who have disturbance or complications in their marriages depend on their children and may feel more lonely when they leave. Parents who rely on their parental roles for self-identity and are full-time parents, suffer separation anxiety when their children leave more acutely. There are parents who like catering to their children’s needs because they think their children are dependent on them and when the children leave and capably look after themselves or parents suffering from a mental illness, anxiety disorder or any other chronic illness tend to have higher chances of experiencing empty nest syndrome.
The causes of empty nest syndrome may vary among parents. Some of them include:
Researchers have found that parents and caregivers suffering from empty nest syndrome may experience the following symptoms:
Empty nest syndrome symptoms can be noticed in both parents. The age group most affected with empty nest syndrome is between 40 – 50. However, based on gender a few things may differ. While women may be at risk of being depressed and experience social withdrawal, the father may turn alcoholic or indulge in substance abuse.
Empty Nest Syndrome can even prompt suicidal thoughts in parents. If you seek timely help, you will be able to deal with this issue better.
If you think this situation will last forever, remind yourself that it won’t. Your friends and family will support you during this transitional period of your life. You don’t have to deal with this feeling of loss alone. You must speak to psychiatrists, psychologists and ensure that you get proper help to live in a healthy manner. There are therapies to manage your symptoms effectively and keeping your mind calm and stress-free is the best solution for empty nest syndrome.
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.