Is Your Nest Empty?
Are you one of the thousands of parents suddenly coping with an empty nest and wondering what comes next? The loss can feel overwhelming. When my son left for college, it felt like just yesterday he was zooming around on his Big Wheel. Where did the time go? The tears flowed and I felt a bit of depression about this new chapter in my life and what it would actually look like.
You may be struggling with the same emotions, so here are a few tips to make this transition a bit easier:
Make sure you regularly check in on your son/daughter during the first semester. Sure you want to give them space to spread their wings, but the first year at college can be a tough one. Are they going to class? Are they partying too much and not going to class? Your student may get upset with you checking on them, but they will also likely appreciate it.
Plan activities with your partner and get to know each other again. So much time was likely devoted to running kids around and conversations revolved around the kids, now it’s time to focus on your life without them. I recommend reading “Questions for Couples” by Marcus and Ashley Kushi. If you’re an only parent, reach out to friends and plan some fun activities together.
When your college student comes home for holidays or summers, acknowledge their independence, but be clear about your expectations while they are home. Are there chores to be done? Is there a curfew to follow? A young adult coming home at 3:00 in the morning can really impact your sleep schedule.
Finally, give yourself some compassion and time to adjust. If things aren’t improving, reach out to a therapist for additional support.