Empty Nest Syndrome

Empty Nest Syndrome
Written By: Counselling Psychologist
M.Sc. Psychology - Swansea University, UK.
Reviewed By: Counselling Psychologist
MA Psychology Pennsylvania State University, USA
Last Updated: 31-03-2023

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Parents raise their families with a myriad of things in mind. They persist to provide for their children in the most vital ways; physical needs, emotional needs, educational needs, etc., etc. And then comes a time when children grow up into adults and begin to move in different directions by way of their personal and professional lives. This gradual change brings in an important segment in parenting which involves parents watching their children become independent beings, who leave their home, their “nest”.

It is definitely wonderful and rewarding for parents to see their children progress and grow. However, a transition period is also ushered. This period is often referred to as the “empty-nest” syndrome. Although it is not a disorder, the empty nest syndrome is so-called because it is often riddled with emotional changes and experiences.

While on the one hand, parents feel proud and happy seeing their children do well in their education or profession or personal lives. But, on the other side, being away from them also brings in feelings of sadness sometimes. The new distance between oneself and their children often translates into parents feeling tearful or morose at times.

They may also feel worried about their child’s welfare at times. So, reporting anxious thoughts or being nervous comes with this new territory. At times parents begin feeling very lonely. They suddenly have more time to themselves. All the periods of the day devoted to their children are now free and available for use. So, parents often miss having their children around at such a time.

Like every new dimension in life, this period also requires a certain adjustment. But the good news is that it is possible to work through this time and the following are suggestions that can provide a framework for the same:

  • Indulge in your hobbies: With children being away, parents have more time on their hands. Using this time to find things they loved or would love to do can help assuage those difficult feelings that might pop up now and again. Plus, the health benefits of indulging in something constructive are a bonus.

  • Rekindle your relationship: Couples often find less time to spend with each other as a couple. The demands of raising a family are time-consuming and tiring. Consider this new phase as an opportunity to spend quality time with your spouse or partner. This not only helps in emotional coping but also provides ways to cherish each other.

  • Concentrate on your health: Running a household for years can take a toll on one's physical and mental health. In daily life, finding time to maintain our health is a challenging task. But with this new phase, individuals can devote more resources to maintaining their physical and mental fitness.

  • Enjoy the fruits of your labour: Parents spent most of their lives working tirelessly for their children. Whether it is aspirations, wishes or demands, parents try and look after their children to the best of their abilities. Thus, now that your children are beginning to carve their own niche, concentrate on the idea that you did the best you could in raising them and that your hard work is paying off. Concentrate on your present and the near future to avoid overthinking past events.


Working through this phase definitely requires patience and time. But that does not mean that one has to endure these feelings at all times, especially if they become distressing and persistent. Mental health professionals like counselling psychologists and clinical psychologists at HopeQure can help provide important support and guidance in adjusting during these challenging times.

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