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How to deal with empty nest syndrome

What is empty nest syndrome?

Empty nest syndrome is a phenomenon that parents experience when their last child leaves home. This can lead to feelings of sadness and loss and, although this is not a clinical diagnosis, it has proven symptoms which correlate to the experience of letting your children go.

Adjusting to the empty nest period can be tricky – that’s why we’ve put together this guide which highlights how to get through empty nest syndrome with a few ideas, such as becoming a foster carer. But first, it’s important to understand the signs and symptoms of empty nest syndrome:

What are the symptoms of empty nest syndrome?

  • Loss of purpose – to go from being needed by your children, whether that’s picking them up from after-school football practise, or dropping them over to a friend’s for a sleepover, your sense of purpose can be affected when the kids have finally flown the nest – which can be difficult to get used to.
  • Emotional distress – crying, experiencing bouts of sadness or generally being more emotional than usual is a sign of empty nest syndrome.
  • Lack of control – for the entirety of your children’s childhood as parents, you’ve been in control of their lives to an extent, and the life of the family. When this is removed, it can leave you with a feeling on instability, and feel frustrated at this sudden lack of control.
  • Anxiety – having anxiety about your children in particular in terms of their well-being and if they are safe is a common symptom of empty nest syndrome.
  • Depression – the above feelings can lead to depression, especially regarding loss of purpose.
  • Loneliness – depending on your situation, whether you have only one child or you are a single parent, loneliness is common to experience when children have flown the nest.

How to deal with empty nest syndrome? Foster care

One of the best ways to deal with empty nest syndrome? Becoming a foster parent.

Fostering as a way to deal with empty nest syndrome not only helps change the lives of young people, but it can also effectively fill the void of lack of purpose, sadness and loneliness – all the symptoms listed above that you may experience when your child has flown the nest. Recent statistics show that the UK needs at least 8,000 carers in order to support the demand of children in care – and one of the key requirements for being able to foster is having experience caring for children, which, as an empty-nest parent, you would already have.

Another key element in the process of your last child leaving home is the prospect of having spare bedrooms. In order to foster a child, another one of the fostering requirements is that you must have a spare bedroom. It could potentially cause pain to walk into your children’s bedrooms, seeing old memories of your children’s childhood – so instead, why not create a new room fit for a foster child to stay? Depending on how many spare bedrooms you have, you could even foster sibling groups too if you wanted to make use of the spare bedrooms in your home.

There are various types of foster care that you could go into – such as short-term fostering, long term fostering or emergency fostering. However, whatever you choose, you’ll be making a substantial difference a young person’s life – which can be extremely rewarding and fulfilling. You will also be given a competitive fostering allowance for looking after children in care. Discover more about the how to apply to become a foster carer today.

For more information about combating the empty nest syndrome with foster care, read our helpful guide. We’ve also put together a list of the top 10 things you can do when your children fly the nest – from travelling to learning how to cook, discover other ways to deal with empty nest syndrome.

To learn more about what empty nest syndrome is and how fostering a child can help alleviate some of these symptoms, get in touch with a member of our friendly team for an informal chat about fostering today.

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