Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Isabelle Zehnder - Empty Nesters

Parenting is an amazing journey!

Babies are born innocent and completely dependent on us. We watch them develop and grow and brace ourselves for each new stage, wishing in our gut we could somehow stop the clock. First they crawl, then they walk, then they're up and running! Before long they learn to ride a bike and before you know it you’re handing them the key to the car.

Our lives become consumed with their busy schedules. As they enter high school we know it won't be long until they will be moving on with their lives – away from us. It's easy to dismiss those thoughts and to think there's still plenty of time. While we want our kids to be independent and free and to follow their dreams, a part of us wants to hold onto them forever.

No one said letting go would be easy ...

Then the day finally arrives. Many of us are so wrapped up in our daily lives that we don’t give much thought to the day our teen will leave home, leaving us ill-prepared to cope with the feelings of emptiness and loneliness.

In his September 7, 2007, article, Life changes when children leave home, Terry Hannun wrote, "... I know that I will see him during some weekends, semester breaks and holidays and he still calls my house 'home'," she said, "but it won’t be the same."

Some people have a harder time dealing with their kids leaving home than others. For those who are divorced it may mean living alone for the first time. Often parents and kids lean on one another after a divorce. Teens often feel guilty leaving home, worried about leaving their parent alone. Parents tell their kids they’ll be fine, but coming home to an empty house after your teen moves out can be overwhelming.

Many couples may find they drifted apart over the years as they were busy juggling jobs and kids. Once the kids move out and the house is silent, they often find themselves sitting across the table with little to say to one another. They often wonder if they'll have what it takes to make their marriage thrive and survive during the next chapters in their lives.

It is not always easy to talk about your feelings of sadness and loneliness when your kids leave home. And when you try sometimes you end up being told to just get over it, move one, what’s the matter with you anyway? Don’t you have a life? You walk away wondering how you’ll get through this time with no support system in place.

Often the people who are telling you to get over it, to get a life, are parents who are having a tough time with it themselves, including your spouse, or people who have been through it and simply don’t know how to support you because they had a tough time themselves. While I have heard some parents say they can't wait for their teen to move out of the house, most have shared with me that they secretly feel a deep sense of sadness and loss.
It seems people don’t want to admit to these feelings for some reason, leaving people to suffer in silence.

This is very real. It is not as easy as saying let it go, forget about it, move on with your life, or even get a life. For many parents, your kids were your life for the past 18-25 or more years. You may have juggled kids and work, but your kids were always number one. Now they’re gone and you’re expected to just move on.

And now that they are gone and the dust settles you’re left reflecting on your life and wondering what you are going to do now. This may be a very sad and lonely time for you. Again, it seems no one is interested in listening to your complaints about missing your kids. After all, the perception is that teens are trouble and we should all be glad they're out of our hair. The lack of support and understanding about this issue has left many parents with a lump in their throats as they fight off tears when they think about their kids who are now living miles from home. The thought that things will never be the same is sometimes overwhelming.

The good news is there is life after the kids!

And it can be wonderful and fulfilling!

Coaching can help you prepare for the dramatic changes you are about to face. A coach is interested in you and respects you. A coach will support you in finding where you are and where you'd like to be. It is a partnership, a relationship based on trust and honesty.

You don't have to cope with this alone. Coaching can help parents who are feeling sad and who are unsure about what they want to do with the rest of their lives. If you're divorced and feeling alone reconnecting with family and friends can be extremely helpful. If you're married and you've drifted, working to reconnect can yield wonderful results.

People are living longer and they say that today 60 is the new 40! There is plenty of time for us to realize our dreams and achieve our goals! Coaching has become popular among athletes and executives. Why not hire a coach to help your through this difficult time in your life?

Coaching is not about digging into or dwelling on the past. It is about moving forward - learning where you are today, where you would like to be tomorrow, and what you will need to do to get there.

Not only can we recognize our dreams and goals, we can achieve them!

Call for your fee phone consultation 1-877-835-7589

Isabelle Zehnder
Certified Family Coach