EMPTY NEST SYNDROME/"ENS": ENS COPING STRATEGIES
PREPARING WELL IN ADVANCE FOR WHEN THE HOUSE IS SUDDENLY EMPTY (CUTTING THE APRON STRINGS, ONE SMALL CUT AT A TIME)
"EMPTY NEST SYNDROME" (ENS): "WHAT IS ENS?"
Anyone who has ever dealt with either an unruly teenager or a suddenly empty house would tell you that you better enjoy your kids while they are still younger. While most young mothers can't wait for their children to grow up and become independent, many in their late forties, fifties and sisties wish they could invite their mature children back into the house and start all over again - I mean with nappies and all.
The empty nest often coincides with mid-life, when parents, particularly mothers, already have a lot of other issues to deal and cope with - such as Menopause and of course, mid-life crisis.
HOW PARENTS ARE AFFECTED BY AN EMPTY NEST
THE IMPACT/EFFECT OF ENS ON PARENTS
Most parents, especially mothers who have made their children "a centre of their lives" for years, do feel lost without the normal parental duties they have grown so accustomed to. People might not understand and may tell you how you need to "cut the apron strings" or "cut the umbilical cord" -which might make you feel worse.
Psychologists warn that there is no faster way of dealing with the syndrome and that sufferers must give themselves time to recover from the 'shock' of having to let go of their kids. This can take anything from about 6 months to upto 24 months or longer in some individuals.
Different parents deal with ENS differently. Some better than others. There are a number of signs to look out for, in order to check whether or not you are coping. You should seek psychological help if:
1. You are depressed,
2. You constantly demand that your kids call you several times a day,
3 You call your adult children several times a day,
4. If you've lost your life's purpose or meaning and you don't know how to carry on.
You can prepare for ENS time: How to survive the Empty Nest
Empty Nest SyndromePrepare for when the kids finally leave home/move out
1. Make an effort to discover and know yourself, your partner, and your passions... preferably long before the nest becomes empty.
2. Prepare well in advance. Learn as much as possible about the syndrome and talk to people who have already experienced it. Your own parents are a good starting point. Read relevant books too.
3. For those who are still starting on their parental journey, try and find other things that interest you even while your kids are still small.Do not completely define yourself by your kids. Love your family; be the best parent you can be, but don't ever lose yourself in the process.
4. If you are already experiencing Empty-Nest-Syndrome, talk about it, learn and remind yourself of all the wonderful things you wanted to do but couldn't because the kids were demanding a lot of attention.
5. REDISCOVER YOURSELF; REDEFINE YOUR ROLE AS A PARENT OR EVEN A GRANDPARENT. ENJOY YOUR NEW ROLE, DO NOT GET STUCK IN THE RUT!
6. Remember to seek help if your kids start to feel that they cannot cope with your expectations and your demands on their time and attention.
7. Look forward to some of the blessings that come only when your kids have grown, such as welcoming your first grandchild into the world, walking your daughter down the aisle, having a daughter in law etc.
8. Those that already have grandchildren: make your children realise the importance of you spending time with your grandchildren - the positive effects on both you and the grandchildren.
9. Mid-life is an exciting time when finally you get to focus wholy on the things that matter the most. Enjoy it...it is a blessing.