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The Empty Nest Syndrome, New Beginnings For You and Your Child, How to Cope

Updated on December 24, 2011

Eventually the birds will leave the nest...

From the day they find out they are expecting, mother's maternal protection mode kicks in. They protect the unborn by eating well, changing their lifestyles, and getting plenty of rest. Their body and mind is no longer their own. It is shared with the thoughts and concerns for the baby. Once the child is born, there is even more adjustments. Adjusting to the lack of sleep and the 24/7 care of another and putting their own needs aside. Add into the mix, a relationship and possibly a few more children and a career. Women can adjust and take on many tasks and even learn how to take care of herself, her family, her relationship, the house, the animals, the career and the list goes on and on.....

Even when the children get old enough to drive and go out at night, a Mother still sleeps with one eye open until she knows all the children are in the nest. Then all of a sudden one day, when she blinks her eyes, the nest starts to become empty and quiet and the adjustment in reverse isn't as easy. It is not that easy to adjust to realizing your children are now adults and have to fly on their own.

Of course we have to nurture and protect them but it is our job to help them go out into the world on their own. Training to leave the nest actually starts when you first let go of their hands and let them walk a few steps on their own, leave them for the first time at daycare, pre-school, kindergarten, first time on the bus etc.

Leaving the Nest

Leaving the Nest
Leaving the Nest | Source
Standing on His Own Two Feet Starts Early
Standing on His Own Two Feet Starts Early
First Day of School on the bus
First Day of School on the bus

Everyone warns you to prepare

 In the back of your mind you always know that one day the children will all grow up and leave the house.  You think you have all this time and before you know it the last one has one foot out the door. 


Empty-Nest Syndrome sets in....

Empty-nest syndrome is a name given to a psychological condition that can affect both parents, mostly commonly mother's, when the children leave home. Of course it is normal to feel a sense of sadness but many people experience a severe sense of loss, depression and anxiety. I personally felt this the most when my second son left for college this past Fall. I cried for days and yet I still had my third son at home attending a two year college close to home before he too goes away to college (so stay tuned).

I cried when I drove through town and didn't see him skateboarding up the street with his friends, I cried when I locked the door at night and his car wasn't in the driveway, and I cried every time I walked passed his room and saw his bed empty. I had thought I had prepared myself for this moment for years. I have encouraged all my sons to go away to school to get a good education. I just didn't expect it to hit me the way it did. This severe feeling of emptiness lasted for a few weeks when I realized that I had to "get a grip" and move on and accept this as another stage of life.


My son Dave skating in town
My son Dave skating in town
Off to college (Good thing he has the right side up!)
Off to college (Good thing he has the right side up!) | Source

New Beginning for everyone

Like I mentioned earlier, it is normal to feel a sense of sadness but actually it is best to look at this transition as a "new beginning". Going away to college, getting married or moving out on their own is an exciting time for them and you. Your children never leave you. Things just change and again you have to adjust.

Ways to cope with the new changes

There are many things you can do for yourself at this time. Get together with friends, join a club, take up a hobby of something you have always been interested in but never had the time, take a college course....just reconnect with yourself. This is also a new beginning for you. Once I made the adjustment, there was no holding me back! I took up enjoying photography, blogging, looking into college courses and reconnecting with myself. Also, I forgot about Winter, Spring and Summer breaks! This past Winter vacation I had all my birds back in the nest for a few weeks and just enjoyed the moments.



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    • clydelady2 profile image

      Nancy Ann 7 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thank you all for taking the time to read my Hub and leave your wonderful comments. Your children leaving the nest is a very frightening experience. Having support from others can make the transition much easier.

    • profile image

      alice72 7 years ago

      I am getting ready for the first of my three children to go off to college.My daughter is 17, and is a junior, but none the less, I find myself crying often, and dreading the day she leaves home. I catch myself asking if I have truly gotten her ready for the other "world" that will be soon hers to make her mark in. Thank you for such an informative article on this,as I will be putting the links to some good use.

    • elayne001 profile image

      Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      After having four active children before I turned 30, it was a big shock when they all left home within just a few years. It was quite a big adjustment for me. Now I have twelve grandchildren. One thing I did close to the time when my children were leaving was to go back to school and get my degree. It was very satisfying and my grandchildren were proud of their grandma. Now I spend my time writing and painting. I also recently took up tutoring small school children and have really enjoyed it. Thanks for an enlightening hub.

    • Golfgal profile image

      Golfgal 7 years ago from McKinney, Texas

      Isn't it interesting how these feelings overwhelm us at times when we least expect it. Knowing what is going to happen is one thing, but when it actually happens the feelings sometimes take us for a ride when it comes to our family especially. I will never forget the feeling I had when my daughter pulled away from the house in the car by herself for the first time. I was totally unaware that I would have that gut wrenching feeling. One I will never forget.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      You know I was sent to another city for a better education when I was 8 years old. I terribly missed my family and at some point even blamed my parents for sending me away. Reading your hub made me wonder how they actually felt that we were far away from them. I treasure your hub as I realized how painful it must have been for them as well.

      Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination. What's that? Click here to read more about it. Be sure to vote too, okay?

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 7 years ago from Virginia

      Another great hub....our second child just left home...we still have a few more to get rid of that time is coming very fast...thanks for all the information.