How To Cope With The ‘Empty Nest Syndrome’ As Children Leave For School

The life of a parent can be a rollercoaster of emotions. Many lasting memories are associated with having children, from their first words to waving goodbye to them on their first day of high school.

But there is one big event in family life that many parents struggle with, and that is when their children leave for college.

Monica Vermani, a clinical psychologist, says parents are experiencing an “emotional rollercoaster” as their children graduate high school and head to university or other new experiences away from home.

She explains that “empty nest syndrome” happens when a child once dependent on parents for survival no longer needs that level of support when their role as primary caregiver changes.

Trusting Your Child


It is also natural for parents to worry about their kids’ challenges, not just about the uncertainties ahead for them. Although Vermani points out that modern-day life has many advantages, including technology that lets you contact your child no matter how far away they are.

Vermani says, “The situation is always hard for parents. We raise these kids that were reliant on us for survival, and now they want to be individuals that are independent of us.”

Taking On New Roles

Many parents panic when they lose their long-held caregiver role. According to Vermani, it’s an opportunity to re-identify yourself and make the most of the time. It could be traveling, volunteering, changing careers, or pursuing a passion that was put on hold while raising kids.


Getting Assistance

Life as an empty nester can be thrilling – and intimidating, too. Vermani recommends that parents give themselves grace if they are struggling.

She says, “Be kind to yourself. You shouldn’t feel guilty, embarrassed, or weak for feeling that way. Feelings of sadness and anxiety are normal.”

Keeping In Touch

Vermani suggests keeping in touch without being intrusive after school starts. Parents will hopefully no longer need to call if they receive a weekly check-in constantly.

Vermani says, “Enjoy and take pride in watching your child move forward. Embrace this new phase of life and show your child you have faith in their abilities, so they can adapt and grow into their new responsibilities and routines.”