Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Some Tips to Help Empty Nesters Fly

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Some Tips to Help Empty Nesters Fly

Article excerpt

Dear Open Mind: My husband and I raised three children together. We were fortunate in that I did not have to work outside the home while the children were growing up. After the last one entered high school I started working part time.

Within the past six months, all of our children have moved out of state. I know that the emotions I'm feeling are probably what is called "empty nest syndrome," but knowing that there's a name for these feelings doesn't necessarily make it any easier. Do you have any words of wisdom?

You must be feeling the strain and challenge of making a transition from providing for your children and family on a daily basis, launching them into adulthood, and now feeling the emptiness after a job well done but now completed.

Because you have given so much time, energy and love to the task of guiding your children through their young life, you will naturally feel the effects of a loss now that your children have moved into adulthood and no longer require the same effort from you. But what are you to do with your time, energy and love?

Working full time may be one avenue to help you make the transition. You may also find that now you have a greater opportunity to focus your energies on your marriage. Often, partners in marriage direct their efforts toward making life comfortable for the family, overlooking the wonderful benefits of a growing marital relationship. With children gone, a couple can focus their love and kindness on each other, nurturing the relationship as they prepare for the later years of life.

This may also be a good time to invest your time, energy and emotion in other worthwhile efforts, such as volunteering for church or community activities or offering assistance to young mothers in your neighborhood.

You've learned much from parenting your children; you may be able to use your wisdom and experience to help other parents. …

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