In The Empty Nest Transition is Hard

In The Empty Nest Transition is Hard

Transition can be a bumpy ride for anyone. The transition to the empty nest isn’t just about being confronted with quietness in the home. It might be more about your identity. When our kids were home, one result of all of their extracurricular activities, including school functions and church parties at our house, was that I became very comfortable being known as Christy, Rebecca, and Heidi’s dad. I was identified by my role in my kids’ lives. Many of my friendships and conversations took place at games and dance recitals. It happened so quickly: after years of constant activity, the events abruptly stopped. And I realized that I had lost a significant number of spontaneous relationships. It was lonely.

In the transition, be aware that you may experience symptoms of depression or anxiety in your adjustment to your children being gone. For me, these symptoms were triggered by the sight of an empty room or a vacant spot at the table. I missed our special dates for fun food or walks on the beach. As the memories flooded in, it was brutal. The move from actively parenting to not being needed daily hit me hard. Change is difficult for me anyway. I’ve lived in the same house and worked at the same job most of my adult life. My guess is most dedicated single parents find it especially challenging.

Even the mildest symptoms of anxiety and depression are your body and mind signaling your discomfort. If you are experiencing any of these transition responses, know that what you are going through is normal and emotionally draining. There really isn’t a right way to feel. Most parents vacillate between sadness and joy.

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Jim Burns

Jim Burns is the president of HomeWord. He speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has close to 2 million resources in print in 20 languages. He primarily writes and speaks on the values of HomeWord, which are: Strong Marriages, Confident Parents, Empowered Kids, and Healthy Leaders. Some of his most popular books are: Confident Parenting, The Purity Code, Creating an Intimate Marriage, Closer, and Doing Life with Your Adult Children. Jim and his wife, Cathy, live in Southern California and have three grown daughters, Christy, Rebecca, and Heidi; three sons-in-law, Steve and Matt, and Andy; and three grandchildren, James, Charlotte and Huxley.

  • About HomeWord

    HomeWord helps families succeed by creating Biblical resources that build strong marriages, confident parents, empowered kids and healthy leaders. Founded by Jim Burns, HomeWord seeks to advance the work of God in the world by educating, equipping, and encouraging parents and churches. Learn More »

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