What to do when you feel your child is all grown up and doesn’t need you anymore? How to cope with empty nest syndrome
Piles of homework, laundry, and dishes kept us on our toes throughout the day. Then we hurriedly drove down to pick up our kids from school. We ferried them from one activity class to another during vacation time.
Let’s admit it – it was fun and we got to relive our childhood all over again through our children’s childhood! ☺ !
“All too soon, our Barbie dolls and smart lads grow up ……..till one fine day we realise with a shock that our children are becoming independent.”
The signs are subtle but we are able to sense them immediately:
They do not like it when we:
- Enter their rooms unannounced.
- Tell them what to do.
- Plan and schedule their day for them.
- Ask them about what happened in school or college.
- Give them unsolicited advice.
- Question their decisions.
- Ask them what is wrong!
That list is most definitely not a finite one. Every child is unique and is bound to behave differently depending on the situation and the background.
As parents, we are hurt because they seem to be zooming us out of their lives totally. We are extremely confused and wonder where we went wrong!
Here are some eye-openers that will expose us to a completely different perspective:
All parents dote on their children and nurture them with a lot of love and care. For the best part of over 15 years, we train them to become independent. So, we should be rejoicing when they are finally taking the first tentative steps towards independence!
They are most certainly not going to become independent overnight. We know their strengths and weaknesses inside out. We are clearly able to see that they are making the wrong decisions. And it is Oh! So very difficult to hold our tongues. We just want to shake them up and beat some good old undiluted ☺ common sense into them!
Yeah! I’m a “been there and done that” parent – and still learn something new from my grown-up son on a daily basis ☺ ! So I know how difficult it is to watch them make mistakes!
Allow them to make their own decisions!
Let me amend that….they will anyway take their own decision! They don’t need our permission to do so.
So, let us simply step aside and focus on our life now.
- Make their own mistakes.
- Realize that they have made a mistake.
- Learn to accept the fact that they have made a mistake.
- Derive their own learnings from their mistakes.
Believe me, we all learn very different things from the same mistake.
So, refrain from drawing the conclusions from their mistakes and discussing it with them.
More importantly, don’t give in to the impulse of saying – “I told you so!”
- Focus on your life now! ☺ !
Most parents experience what is known as an empty nest syndrome! We have a lot of time hanging on their hands now. The house is meticulous, the laundry and the dishes are done before midday and we have all the time in the world to wonder where we are going wrong as parents.
Think back for a while.
- Put all those lovely dreams and ambitions on hold for over a decade.
- Were extremely frustrated when we had to give up our careers or hobbies to take care of our children.
- Took a long time to come to terms with our choice to become full-time mothers.
- Waited patiently to pursue all those dreams and our career again!
Yet, a smile adorns our faces when we look back. We know we were happiest when we were with our children. And are satisfied that we shared such great times together. The memories will most certainly linger throughout our lives.
But it is time now to re-focus on our lives. We can
- -> Take up some additional coaching to update ourselves.
- -> Learn some new skills.
- -> Indulge in some passion.
- -> Take a break and go on a trip.
- -> Tap in and cash in on the talents that we are blessed with.
- -> Explore other unique options.
One mother living in our locality works as a freelance lunch and dinner service provider. She takes orders over the telephone and delivers fresh nutritious piping hot meals to their doorstep. For the resolute soul – the sky is the only limit! ☺ !
Go on, relearn to lead your own life – and on your own terms this time! ☺ !
Keep the channel of communication open at all times!
Our children will be extremely relieved when we stop pestering/harassing/irritating and pressurizing them with our endless queries. When we re-enter the real world and experience life on a first-hand basis, we start understanding the real-life challenges that our children are facing too. When we interact with other people we gain newer insights.
Our home and our children were our only domain for over a decade and a half. Now we are able to relate to their problems and perceive their problems from a different point of view.
When we give our children all the mental, emotional, and physical space that they yearn for, they will reach out to us of their own accord. They are able to sense that we are now open to their point of view.
- Are literally able to see their mom is happy and relaxed and is humming to herself in the kitchen.
- Realize that their mom loves them just the way they are.
- Know that she will stand by them no matter what.
- Feel that they can confide their fears and mistakes in her.
- Know she will just listen to them and be their sounding board.
And instead of an unexpected angry outburst in the kitchen, we, as mature parents have an interesting leisurely discussion with our grown-up children over a cup of coffee in the balcony!
The bridge has been put in place and the bond between the mother and the child has grown stronger than ever!
L☺VE WINS ALWAYS – but a big dose of maturity helps a lot! What do you think?