Coping tips for empty nesters

Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 10:05 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Our kids are back to school, which may be welcome relief for you, but can also be a hard transition for others.

We spoke with a dad who just became an empty nester a few days ago, and an expert who’s offering some ways to cope.

Going away for school can be an exciting time for kids leaving the nest for the first time.

But there’s also a learning curve for families with so much changing at one time.

David Locke and his wife Kimiera became empty nesters a little over a week ago.

“Wow, it’s been a whirlwind. You know, your life goes from just being wide open all about the kids and so, it’s kind of like the rug’s been jerked under you,” Locke said.

They just moved their son Riley to Philadelphia after he accepted his first job out of college.

Their daughter, Emma Kate, just started school at Auburn.

“Boom! All of a sudden, the house is empty,” Locke exclaimed.

Locke said the kids kept them busy over the years.

Now, he had his wife are looking for new ways to stay busy getting to know each other all over again.

“We’re only like a week-and-a-half into this, so we’re still figuring it out. It’s been different. My wife and I watch a lot of TV together. We’ve been going on some afternoon walks together. I love my wife. Looking forward to spending time with her,” Locke said.

Dr. Joshua Klapow said it’s normal to have a sense of emptiness or anxiety when your “birdies” leave the nest, but it’s important to acknowledge these feelings.

“It’s normal to go up to their room and look at them and maybe shed a tear or not. It’s also normal to feel like you don’t know what to do with yourself,” Dr. Josh said.

And communication with your spouse is key.

“Talking with your significant other about all of the hopes, the dreams, the vacations, or maybe the enrichment things that you put off for several years while your kids were in the house. It’s also important to talk about how your thoughts and feelings about your relationship may be changing. We need to let our partners know that so they can transition with us,” Dr. Josh said.

Dr. Josh said it can also be comforting to talk with other parents who are going through similar transitions.

And parents who have already gone through this can be good sounding boards.

He also recommends allowing your child to set the boundaries for how often you communicate.

Remember - this is a huge transition for them as well.

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