nathan-jefferis-534855-unsplashIn our research on parents’ empty nest experiences we found a very interesting article titled Of Roots and Wings:  Letting Go of the College-Child.  It was published in 2004 by professors at prestigious Boston College.  Two quotes really stood out from this article.  The first one:  “Thus there is considerable symbolic weightiness to the leaving home process for parents because it is simultaneously a test of the their children’s readiness for independence and of their own parenting success”.  Amen.  That in my mind really summarizes the issues at stake – when our kids leave for college it is measure, in our minds, of how ready they are, and how well we have done as parents.  The second one: “There is reason to believe that upper-middle-class parents may find their children’s senior in high school, bounded by high by college choices and application processes, more stressful than the eventual departure of their children and the consequent accommodations to their absence”.  This is the one that really stuck me personally.  For each of the four separate senior years with our kids, my wife and I would say that those were in general the toughest years for us and for them.  Not only was there the whole college search, prep and application pressures, and they each had severe spring fever, moreover they were each, in their own way, separating themselves in significant ways from us as parents.  That was tough…

So this raises a question for my readers…which was a tougher year?  The senior year and the anticipation and conflict related to leaving the nest, or the first year after the nest was flown?  I am very curious what your thoughts are.

Posted by:Empty Nest Experience

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