ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

An Empty Nester's Checklist

Updated on January 26, 2014

Leaving The Security of The Family Home

Helping your kids find their way in the world is the key task of parenting when they reach this stage
Helping your kids find their way in the world is the key task of parenting when they reach this stage | Source

Time To Go?

You might be dreading it or counting down the days but it comes to all parents eventually. Your children have grown up and are perched on the edge of the nest flapping their wings.

Most of us feel intense ambivalence about this: The food you bought last night won’t have been magically replaced by a trail of wrappers and crumbs when you get home from work, the multiple pairs of huge trainers waiting by the front door to trip you up will be gone. On the other hand just as they metamorphisise into an interesting, funny, companionable adult who knows how to cook someone else is going to reap the benefit of all your hard work.

But have they really gone? Can you be sure that they won’t materialize in a tearful heap on the doorstep just after you have finished converting their bedroom into an office? The type of leaver they are should provide some clues.

Moving out

All hands on deck to help
All hands on deck to help | Source

The Elastic Offspring

This is a very common type and is characterized by youth, inexperience and a hopelessly idealistic faith in dubious friends. Although the premise that it is time for some independence and experience of the world is sound, if the new living arrangements are based on the assumption that fun friends will also be fun to live with it could end in disaster. I can tell you from experience that a guaranteed way of cementing your child’s determination to go through with this plan is to exclaim loudly that he can’t possibly be serious about sharing with this irresponsible, unreliable, unhygienic waste of space.

This arrangement will last around six months before he is back as if attached to your home by elastic, possibly with a broken games console and a couple of bills that the fun friend was supposed to pay.

He may go through this a few times before either actively seeking out the most sensibly dull friend he can find or acquiring a girlfriend to make his decisions for him.

A watershed in Your Child's Life
A watershed in Your Child's Life | Source

The Transformation Kid

The transformation child reaches a turning point, often going away to university, and never properly comes back. It is usually the one you least expect that will do this. You worried about them all through their teenage years and are terribly anxious about how they will cope away from home, they seem so young, so fragile. But while you are dividing your time between fretting at home and driving up with food parcels they are quietly establishing themselves in their new domain.

A transformation kid can be predicted by the complexity of the ties they establish whilst at college. If they have a part-time job and a local love-interest by the end of the second year the chances are they regard themselves as happily settled and won’t want their bedroom back.

The Diva

If you have a diva you will know, you won’t need me to tell you about it. You may, only now, be gathering yourself and trying to recapture some of your energy and composure. When installing one of my own tribe in his student accommodation for the first time I encountered a couple following their child along the corridor to the new student room. One was carrying a floor lamp and the other a houseplant.

Divas will describe themselves as having high standards and liking things to be right. If you are looking at your 10 year old and thinking ‘hmm, I think we might fit into this category…’ best start preparing now.

Some Facts and Figures

How Many
20-24 year olds living with parents in the UK
3 million
Anticipated individual student debt in the UK
20-24 year olds in employed in USA
Parents in USA reporting adult children moving back in
Estimated total student debt
$1 tn

Source: The Guardian Newspaper/Tew Research


The Secret Mover

The secret mover is a thoughtful child, they know this is an emotional time for you, that you will miss them, so they try to move out as surreptitiously as possible so as not to upset you. Either that or they are keeping all their options open. A classic example of a secret mover is one who, to all intents and purposes, is actually living with his girlfriend but puts in just enough appearances to prevent you realising that something significant has happened. This has the added advantage of keeping a door open in the event of things going horribly wrong.

A useful indicator that you are potentially in a secret moving scenario is if your child takes an unaccountable interest in household objects. You may find yourself having conversations that start with ‘you don’t need two bath mats do you?’ or ‘these towels don’t get used any very much!’. You are actually helping him to set up home but he is very kindly saving you the bother of buying him new stuff.

This is a momentous kind of leaving because it can signify the final transition to adulthood. Gone were the days of broken games consoles and broken friendships, when my secret mover left the house with a saucepan and a baking tray in his backpack, I realised he was going for good this time.

Exciting Times

Exhilarating but a bit scary.
Exhilarating but a bit scary. | Source

Leaving kids leave gaps in your life - get some support for yourself as well

If It's Your Turn

So when it's your turn be cool, be supportive, be prepared but, most importantly, be proud whatever happens.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)