For many, September and October are exciting and daunting months where you may be starting a new school, university or even a career but for those left behind at home it can also be a bit bewildering. As a parent, when your children leave home, it marks a turning point in your life and can be a time of immense emotional upheaval. . .now often known as the 'empty nest syndrome'.
Celia Dodd has not only written extensively about such family matters but as experienced each stage of the empty nest herself. In her new book, The Empty Nest 'Celia Dodd reminds us that our children continue to need us, just as we continue to value our relationship with our now young adult sons and daughters. [It is] a thoughtful and compassionate exploration if a complex parenting phase' Terri Apter.
Here, Celia gives some handy tips on what to do when faced with the empty nest. . .
- Make sure there’s plenty to look forward to: friends to visit, weekends away, long-term dreams
2. Don’t rush into big changes. Take stock of your achievements (starting with launching a fully fledged adult into the world!) and think through all the options that are now open to you.
3. Make a leaving-home present for your child, perhaps an album of photos. Or write a letter about your life together. Even if you don’t send it immediately, it’s a positive way to reflect on – and celebrate - your shared past.
4. Store up ammunition for empty moments by making lists of things to help you cope: treats, movies (‘Mamma Mia’ is perfect for empty nesters), simple projects that are easy to pick up, friends to ring.
5. Find something new to nurture: plants and seeds, a student lodger, a pet (but think carefully about the commitment of a dog).
6. At times you may not have much enthusiasm. That’s why a weekly class or a club is a good idea. You might have to make yourself go at first, but enjoyment will soon grow.
7. Don’t automatically slump in front of the telly with your partner. Get out the cards, plan a holiday or a joint project, or dig out your favourite tunes – they’re a great reminder of why you got together in the first place.
8. Finally, don’t bank on total ‘me-time’. Adult kids still need their parents – often at the most unexpected moments!
If anyone has any questions then please post at the bottom and we can send on to Celia!
The Empty Nest is out now, please click here for more information.
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