Empty Nest Syndrome Signs and Helpful Tips

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Updated: September 10, 2018


empty nest syndrome symptoms

Empty Nest Syndrome Tips

Empty Nest Syndrome is defined as the feeling of extreme loneliness that parents often feel when their children leave their home to live on their own for the first time. When your children leave home, it’s only natural to have these symptoms considering all the love and focus that goes into raising a child from birth to adulthood. Medical Alert Advice has the signs and symptoms of Empty Nest Syndrome to look out for and suggestions for how you can overcome them.


Increased Marital Stress

Going through the grief of an empty nest can highlight problems in one’s marriage. Some couples put so much emphasis on their child that they don’t know how to handle each other when that child is no longer a part of the day-to-day. Now is the time to rediscover why you fell in love with each other in the first place. You can find hobbies you love to do together or simply go on dates and spend quality time with each other.

Extreme Grief or Depression

When dealing with empty nest syndrome, the symptom of depression is more common in women especially those who are going through menopause. If you find yourself spending a significant amount of time in your child’s old bedroom (even months after they are gone) and you can’t bring yourself to spend time with other family or friends, or have trouble getting out of bed in the morning,  you may be experiencing this symptom.

Feelings of Anxiety

It is normal to worry about your child’s wellbeing when the kids leave the house. However, it is unhealthy to feel extremely anxious on a day-to-day basis. If you are constantly worrying about your child’s health and wellness and/or checking in with them multiple time a day, it may be time to explore some coping techniques.

Lack of Purpose

An empty nest parent might experience a lack of direction once the children leave home. Especially if you are a stay at home parent, family life might have been your primary focus for the last 18+ years! Rest assure, your child will always look to you for encouragement and support, but it is important to carve out a life for yourself outside of being a parent. In order to rediscover your passions in life outside of being a parent, you could take some college courses or learn an new trade, volunteer for a charity that speaks to your heart or get involved in your community in some way.

They are many ways to cope with or even overcome empty nest syndrome. One of them is to keep an open line of communication with your child. You don’t have to overwhelm your child with multiple calls a day but with so many options on ways to communicate, it is easy to pick the system that works for you both. Perhaps Skype, Facetime or texting a few times of week will give you the reassurance you need. Also, keep your expectations realistic. You might not see your child for every single special occasion or holiday so it is important to cherish the time that you do have to spend together.

Spend time with supportive friends that get what you are going through. Having a shoulder to lean on when you are feeling down can help get rid of some of the loneliness you may have experienced. Finally, now is the time to go after that hobby you’ve always wanted but didn’t have the time for or learn something new! It’s never too late to chase your dreams and learn a new craft or skill.

Single parents may have an even harder time coping with the child leaving home. Bottom line is it’s completely normal to miss your child and experience some loneliness when they leave your home. Know the empty nester warning signs and if you have any extreme feelings of depression or guilt, it is best to speak with a medical health professional.