Your child leaving home for the first time is a major milestone in our parental journey. Whether it be them leaving home to travel, to further education or to begin their new career, we should allow ourselves this time to filled with both pride and, naturally, a hint of sadness. It is important to remember that as your family enter this new chapter you are not alone on this journey and I wanted to share some tips on how to acclimatise to the “new normal” and how to get the best out of this transition for you.
As your child spreads their wings in their new opportunity it’s time for you to rediscover your own passions and interests. Embrace this opportunity for personal growth and self-discovery. Nurture this time to focus on your own development, mentally, emotionally and physically.
Dealing with Grief
When your child leaves home it is natural for us to feel a sense of loss. Allow yourself the time to grieve whilst having self-compassion and gratitude. Journalling is a great way to express our feelings in a safe space and remember to reach out to your support network. Spend quality time with your partner, enjoy being a couple and remembering who you were before your family came along.
Assessing Your Role
Even though your role as a parent is evolving, it is far from over. Take this opportunity to discover how you can support your child at the same time as prioritising your wellbeing. Have a think about what that support may look like and how you can share that with your child whilst allowing them to continue to grow into a young independent adult.
Use this time to realise your own dreams and aspirations and carve out your path to fulfilment. Take that class you have always wanted to, join a club or society that really interests you or enjoy the time to discover new places that you have always wanted to visit. Our own values alter over time so allow yourself the space to reflect on what is important to you for your own personal growth and wellbeing.
Community of Support
Reach out to your network for support. These could be friends and family, or other parents you have met through school, clubs and societies. You could join a community of parents who are going through similar experiences to share stories, advice and encouragement. Lasting connections can be built this way and be key to your success through this stage.
It is natural for us to feel lost and isolated but it is important to not let the empty nest phase be a period of isolation or sadness. It’s time for you to embrace this opportunity for growth, self-discovery and reconnection with yourself.
Maryan Hook is an experienced youth and parental transition coach helping people navigate life changes. Offering personalised sessions to address your own unique needs and concerns, Maryan will offer you a safe space and give you the support you deserve. You can contact her via her profile page or at email@example.com.
October 1, 2023