Saying good bye to my kids was the hardest thing ever

Everyone with children will have to go through this at some point of their life – saying goodbye. Some of

Everyone with children will have to go through this at some point of their life – saying goodbye.

Some of you might have already experience this heartache when your kids leave the house to go and study or just when they leave your nest to start their own nest.

“No matter how long they’ve been out of the nest, no matter how happy they are, no matter how I prepare myself, no matter how much I write about it – I can’t seem to keep myself from being head-over-heels depressed every time I have to say good-bye to my young adult offspring,” said Veronica of Gypsy Nester.

“One would think I’d be used to good-byes by now. Or that I’ve somehow figured out how to prepare for the letdown. After all, the kids are all finished with college and it’s been over six years since we’ve had a full time, live-in offspring.”

“Having to let go from those good-bye hugs at the airport is literally physically challenging. I feel like I’ve just run a marathon (okay, I’ve never actually run a marathon, but it looks really difficult). I can’t catch my breath, there’s a tightening in my chest and exhaustion soon sets in,” said Veronica.

Apart from missing them when they are away, some parents feel a very real sense of grief and loss and a lack of purpose or control.

Writer Ruth Hardy said, because having a child leave home to go to university is regarded as a measure of success – a sign that you have prepared them for the world – the downsides are often not adequately acknowledged. Parents are told dismissively to buck up, get a hobby or a cat and start seeing friends more – but “empty nest syndrome” can hard to cope with.

The empty nest syndrome is not only applicable to stay-at-home mothers, who have built their life around their children. Ms Hardy said, in reality, it can affect any kind of parent, whether you have a separate career or not.

Lillian Little said, “I thought I would never suffer from empty nest syndrome – I’m a college professor with a PhD – I thought only pathetic women with no life beyond their kids had no problem with this.” But Little was afflicted by a sense of “life-altering loss”.

The hardest part of having an empty nest is not physical separation but realising the fact that your kids will not be a major part of your daily routine anymore.

Once they are out of the house, you’ll know less about their life and worrying about their welfare can exacerbate the feelings of loneliness and loss.

What should you do if you were in this situation?

Experts say you should give your child space to become independent and enjoy their new life, but stay in touch. Thanks to technology, many things are possible now. Having regular chat sessions on the phone or Skype keeps you connected and still part of their life.

Just think what our parents had to go through when we left home. There was no internet connection and definitely no technology that allowed us to chat face-to-face like Skype or Facetime.

Do everything you can to keep the communication going but no matter how tempted you are, asking them to stay back or move back home will only compromise the possibility of them finding happiness and independence.

Did you find it hard when your kids left home?

  1. Joanne Blacker  

    My kids have been out of the house for several years and now have families of their own. I find it very difficult at times, especiall not seeing the grandkids. They now have very busy lives of their own and and I find it hard not fitting in with their world and seeing them very often. One family is in Sydney and the other is about 30 minutes away.

  2. My kids all live away from home, but we see them regularly. Now my husband and I would like to move interstate next year, and I am really looking forward to it – but saying goodbye to my daughter and two sons, plus their partners and all my delicious grandchildren is making me very sad and every time I think about it I get very nervous inside. But – they will do what they need to do and that might involve moving away too, so all these things have to be taken into consideration.

  3. Faye Dapiran  

    Two of my; children moved out within 6 weeks of each other, one to live elsewhere and the other got married. I was very lonely for a short while, as I was a single mother and I live on my own. But it didn’t take me long to adjust. I was still working then, part time, and had other interests and friends. I also still saw my kids a lot. But I found I liked the new freedom I had, after raising 3 children, from very young ages, on my own. I have discussed it with friends, and most of us say, it was sad and odd at the time, but we adjusted quicker than we thought we would.
    My son lives in Qld, so that is difficult, but I still see him about 5 times a year, and he calls at least once a week and we have a long chat. I see my 2 daughters and my beautiful grandchildren often, so that is great. But it is an adjustment we all have to make at some stage. It can be heart wrenching though, at the time, but that does pass.

  4. Hovering over protective parents with no life. I was happy when my children moved out. A new exciting stage of our lives began. We bought a Motor home and lived and traveled in it around Australia for 2 years and reconnected as a couple. My three children are all loving, caring independent adults now and they thank us for allowing them the freedom and independence we gave them. We are close but don’t feel the need to call and see each other every day. I am 55 and about to retire and I see this as another exciting change in my life. Parents who do everything for their adult children are just enabling them to be lazy and enjoy their money while their parents still pay for everything. Don’t be sad just change your lifestyle and enjoy yourselves as a couple again. I love my children very much but loving them is also letting them go. I have stood at the airport on two occasions watching my son go off to a war torn country. Saying Goodbye as they go to Uni is not heart breaking seriously go find a hobby.

  5. Pauline Gatt  

    When I had the 3 children at home I always said that children are lent to us to love and bring them up to stand on their own 2 feet .When each one left home I still spent many days crying even as I passed by their old bedrooms but fortunately I was still working part time.Now they are married and parents with young families and I have the pleasure to see them very often especially since my husband and I help with child minding a few days a week while they work like I did at their age .We still enjoy our holidays and the children organise alternate child minding while we are away. I came from Malta and one of 6 siblings .Out of the 6 , 5 of us left Malta and came to Sydney between 1964 and 1974 and I am sure it was hard for my parents but they would never dream of holding us back from what we wanted out of life and communication in those days was letters and occasional phone calls

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