Coping with Empty Nest Syndrome - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Survival tips for empty nesters

Randalette Barnes is making sure her daughter, Brittani, gets acclimated to college life.

After all she's a freshman at Columbus State University - her first time living away from home.

"I tried very hard not to let her see me cry because I knew than that it would upset her. I didn't want to make the transition that difficult for her to make," said Randalette Barnes.

Dr. Cheryl Yatsko of the Counseling Center says separation anxiety is normal for parents as kids start to fly the coop.

It's called Empty Nest Syndrome - a feeling of loneliness or depression that occurs among parents after children grow up and leave home and it's more common in women, according to Psychology Today.

Dr. Yatsko says, "They will never be babies again, they will always be your baby but a feeling of loss and sadness is very normal and that's something to work through."

She has these suggestions to help parents cope.

Don't call them, let them call you.

If you want to be supportive, send a short text message like 'love you' or 'hope you're doing great'.

And teach them how to do things like balance a checkbook, pay bills or wash clothes so you feel more comfortable.

Yatsko adds, "I also really recommend parents rediscover themselves at this time. As your nest is emptying try to think back on who you are besides being a parent."

For Brittani, living in the dorm and being on her own has been a major adjustment for her also. "I was nervous at first. I was really anxious but actually getting here and moving in and getting settled it's a lot better."

So if you find yourself home alone with no kids, look at it as an opportunity to rediscover who you are besides a parent. It might not be so bad.

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