An Empty-Nester On Moving Forward | KERA News

An Empty-Nester On Moving Forward

Jul 19, 2016

When kids move out of the house—to college or to a first apartment—the homes they leave behind are never quite the same. So what is a parent to do? Melissa Shultz is the author of, “From Mom to Me Again: How I Survived My First Empty-Nest Year and Reinvented the Rest of My Life.” Today on Think, Krys Boyd spoke with her about how parents can refocus their lives once children are gone.

The KERA Interview

Advice from Melissa Shultz:

Find a way to move forward

“It sounds so sort of cliché and not very feeling when somebody just says, ‘Well, you just need to get out of your house and make new friends and find a hobby.’ And of course children weren’t a hobby, and it’s not that easy to make friends. But if you can take a step back and consider the kinds of things you’d like to do and the people you’d like to be with. If you can then start to envision that, you’ll move away from that negative feeling, or that sense of really being alone, towards something.”

Try to make new friends

“Those friends that you make as a parent, whether you’re a single parent or you’re married, they won’t necessarily be the same people you find yourself surrounded by even five years after you’re children have left. And that’s not a bad thing, it’s just a natural thing. Not all those friendships are meant to last and sometimes it’s in your best interest to seek new friends for this new time of life with new shared interests.”   

Begin the transition in high school

“Instead of telling them what to do when things arise in school, conflicts arise with friends, with teachers ... that’s when you really want to start letting them handle things. And it’s not that you’re abandoning them … but what you’re doing is giving them the opportunity to develop the ability to handle these things on their own … When you do that you’re actually at the same time helping yourself go on to the next stage of parenting. You are in fact a mentor and not the day-to-day resource.”