Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Parent to Parent: Emptynest
Over the next month, many parents will be taking their children to college. But while it can be an exciting experience, many moms and dads can also find it depressing. How to deal with empty nest syndrome in tonight's Parent To Parent.
WSVN--For the last two decades, the brown home has been the busiest on the block.
From birthdays to family dinners, Pam and Bill Brown have devoted their entire lives to their four children.
Pam Brown: "One day you're on the soccer field screaming for them and the next day you're at graduation."
And before they know it, Pam and Bill will be saying goodbye to their youngest Katie, an incoming freshman at Fordham University.
Pam Brown: "It's a blink of an eye. It goes so quickly. They were born yesterday and now were sending them off to school, off to college."
But as Katie's life is just beginning, Pam, Bill, and other parents can't help feeling like a piece of their's is ending.
Dr. Debbie Glasser: "Everything we do are these small steps helping our children become more independent, encouraging them to walk. And yet somehow when that moment comes and our children leave the home, it can be a very powerful and at times overwhelming feeling."
That's why Dr. Debbie says parents must be patient as they adjust to what's called empty nest syndrome.
Dr. Debbie Glasser: "You might have periods of feeling ok and then even a month, 2 months, 3 months later all of a sudden cry when you walk by and look at a photograph of your child sitting on the mantle. Be patient and know that over time you'll begin to adjust to these changes."
In the meantime, take advantage of the free time.
Develop adult relationships you've been neglecting and try starting a new hobby.
Dr. Debbie Glasser: "Now's the time to jump in. Take a class, grow flowers, get together with friends, learn how to cook something you've always wanted to cook but your kids would never eat. Now's the time to enjoy those moments."
But if one of your new projects is downsizing, Dr. Debbie warns against making big changes like selling or moving immediately.
Dr. Debbie Glasser: "Really, the bottom line with an empty nest is that for many families the nest doesn't stay empty for very long, so just when parents are starting to feel like, hey I can get used to this, some adult children come back."
Pam's making the most of her time.
She's collecting toys and clothes for an orphanage in Ecuador.
Same with Bill - he's making plans to fish and golf more often.
Plus they're focusing more on each other now, while eagerly awaiting future generations.
Pam Brown: "I'm looking forward to the day the first grandchild walks through the door and we get to start over again."
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