When the Empty Nest Becomes a Syndrome

What is the difference between common empty nesting and empty-nest syndrome?

Empty nesting is a time all parents will enter. It is a natural occurrence. However, it is best to be prepared for it so it does not rear its ugly head into a “syndrome.” In the following paragraphs, let us explore the difference between empty nesting and empty-nest syndrome and start thinking about what you can do to avoid it.

What is an Empty Nest?

An empty-nester is one whose children have grown up and left the home to pursue their own lives. Many parents are elated to progress their young to this stage and wave them off and on their way. Some struggle with the quiet home for a week or two, then begin enjoying a new normal. Others may experience a state of depression and loss. How this group deals with the loss is what determines a syndrome.

What is Empty-Nesting Syndrome?

When a condition is defined as a syndrome, that person exhibits certain symptoms of the social condition or circumstance. When the kids are all moved on and the house is quiet, one has time to consider more than the goings-on in the family. There is considerable more time for self-reflection and self-fulfillment. If a person is not prepared for this phase in life, the sadness affecting the parent can become profound and cause sincere depression, identity crisis, relationship problems, and even substance abuse.

How Can I Avoid Empty-Nesting Syndrome?

Blessed to have my doctor know me and my devotion to my children, she instructed me to prepare early. Even my husband knew I would need to ease into the time. Armed with this team, we devised a plan for the last 2 years having kids in the home to get me ready and active outside the home. My health and fulfillment became a priority for the first time in years. Honestly, it was refreshing and it can be for you too.

Advice for Empty Nest Candidates?

Arm yourself with a team of supporters. Read testimonials of others like this one, my article on Empty Nesting Fears, and more. Prepare early for the days ahead and focus on you! Begin discovering your self again, and I promise, it will be a discovery journey you won’t regret.