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How to Cope with Empty Nest Syndrome

Don't know what to do with yourself now that the kids are gone? Time to focus on you for a change.


  • Step 1: Look at the bright side Look at this as the beginning of a new chapter of your life, one that allows you to be more self-indulgent.
  • Step 2: Give your child space Resist the urge to cope with your feelings by nagging or making them feel guilty about leaving. Don't take advantage of their potential homesickness by suggesting they move back.
  • Step 3: Put yourself first Make yourself your next project – those who do handle the transition better than parents who transfer all their attention to their spouse.
  • TIP: Don't do anything rash in the first few months, like sell your house.
  • Step 4: Do some soul-searching Think back to dreams and goals you postponed when you become a parent. Now might be a good time to resurrect some of them.
  • Step 5: Get a hobby Take up a new hobby or sport. If you're married, consider one you can do with your spouse.
  • TIP: Don't panic if you and your spouse don't seem to know what to talk about now that the kids are gone. This is extremely common, and most often temporary.
  • Step 6: Reach out to family members Reconnect with family and friends, especially if you are a single parent now living alone.
  • TIP: If you have pets, give them some TLC. Veterinarians say the abrupt absence of a child is difficult on them, too.
  • Step 7: Get help If you are still feeling extreme sadness after six months, consider getting professional help.
  • FACT: According to U.S. census figures, one quarter of adults ages 18 to 34 – about 18 million people – still live with their parents.

You Will Need

  • Discipline
  • New goals
  • Time to adjust
  • Loved ones
  • A hobby (optional)
  • Professional help (optional)

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