When a couples' last child finally moves out of the family home, the couple may face something known as empty nest syndrome. If you're in this situation, you could feel restless and anxious without your children near you, and these feelings can be very intense. Rather than try to inject yourself in your grown children's lives more than is appropriate, it's a good idea to think about seeing a therapist. There's no shame in admitting that you're feeling the effects of your empty nest, and your therapist can help you to explore the following topics in depth.
Resentment Of The Child
You might not feel proud to admit it, but it's possible that you hold some degree of resentment to the child for moving out. Even though a part of you likely is happy with your children growing up and branching out into the world, a part of you may feel as though your child has abandoned you. This can be a difficult feeling to have, especially when you aren't proud of it and thus probably don't want to share it with many people. This resentment could affect your relationship with your child, which is the last thing that you want. A therapist can help you to understand this feeling and work through it.
If you're someone who has spent the last couple of decades with your life revolving around that of your children, it can be difficult to find yourself in an empty nest scenario. One issue that you're apt to experience is severe boredom. For example, if you've prided yourself on doing your children's laundry, cooking for them, and performing other similar tasks, you'll have a serious void in your daily regime once your last child moves out. Boredom can often lead to issues, including increased drinking and depression, so your counselor will work with you to develop strategies to manage your boredom.
Appropriate Involvement In The Child's Life
Your child needs to feel free to get out in the world and grow as a person, and this is difficult if you're still trying to manage various aspects of his or her life. Whether your child is a late teen or in his or her early 20s, you need to set goals about how much you'll be involved in the child's life. Daily phone calls, emails, and text messages can be a burden for the child, and aren't necessarily healthy for you, either. Work with your counselor to decide what an appropriate degree of involvement you'll have in the child's life moving forward.
Contact a therapist, like Donald McEachran, PHD, for more help.