It’s almost back to school, and for some parents, this means leaving home for a child to continue their studies in another city, another country. The “empty nest syndrome” can then strike with full force. What can you do to minimize the sadness associated with this new stage of life?
Psychologist Geneviève Beaulieu-Pelletier suggests that parents prepare for this departure, and not silence their emotions.
To be able to anticipate. To understand that it is normal to have a reaction. To see what’s to come. Once he leaves, to wonder what we feel, what makes us live. This is a good guide to know where we stand […] it’s time to refocus on our needs. Sometimes you don’t even remember who you were before you had kids.
It is important to live it, she adds. To talk about it to those close to you, to seek support, if necessary.
A disease that affects one in three people
The “empty nest syndrome” is not limited to simple sadness linked to the departure of a child, explains the psychologist. It is a deep evil that can lead to depression.
We live it in a very important way, but it is not the same scenario for everyone, underlines Geneviève Beaulieu-Pelletier. Sometimes it’s the last one to leave the house, sometimes it’s with a child with whom we had a special bond.
Not everyone experiences this pain intensely – about 35% of the population, according to the psychologist. There are many reasons for this state of mind: the loss of a privileged bond with one’s child, a new state of loneliness, the feeling that death is approaching, the need to redefine oneself as an individual, etc.
” It is really seen as a loss. And there is a process of mourning which is set in motion little by little. »
The psychologist suggests, in the face of this malaise,
to regain a place. Quietly, “where are my needs today apart from my parenting role, because it has changed now.”
Our children are grown up, they are independent. We can be proud. There is a whole freedom too! We can focus on what it brings us.