In our research on the empty nest experience we found that life satisfaction was much lower on average when single parents launched their kids to college. This group fared worse emotionally than did married couples. This makes sense as it is much harder for a single parent to see their last child go. This fact caused me to reflect on two themes:
1. If your child does not make it home for the Holidays – then look for ways to be involved with others during the Christmas season. Of course, the rest of us need to be on the lookout for single parents and single individuals who are alone for the Holidays and invite them to join in our gatherings.
2. If your child does come home for the Holidays – LOWER – expectations. You have really missed them – but they are now involved in their own lives. They will remain connected on social media with all their new friends, and so it should be. Be happy for their presence but do not expect the the level of engagement to be the same as you desire. This is a tough trap. You long to see them and hear all about their exploits and adventures but they have different agenda. They just want to be home – which usually means; sitting around, watching videos, going out with old friends. They want things to be the way they were. A newly questioning parent or a clingy parent is usually not what they had in mind. So be careful and back off just a couple of steps.
What do you think? Comment or send me your story.