We are going to start this discussion with a little light humor from a dad who has yet to experience empty nest syndrome for himself.
When we first think of empty nests, before we think about the joy of a new phase in life, we think about the sadness and loneliness—of the mother. But who now needs the father?
Mothers have to reinvent their roles with their adult children, but this is also a problem for men although they don’t talk much about it.
Celia Dodd wrote:
Listless, disgruntled and generally underpar. My husband, Tom, had been feeling like this for several months and neither of us could work out what was wrong.
When he consulted his GP, we were both surprised by the diagnosis. The doctor thought the cause of Tom’s malaise might be empty nest syndrome. In other words, he was feeling desolate after the last of our three children flew the nest.
It is a syndrome widely associated with women, so it didn’t even cross my mind that my husband, a molecular biologist, might be suffering from it.
from: It’s not only women who dread an empty nest… A fascinating new book which uncovers one of the last taboos among men by Cecia Dodd.
Tom’s feelings were not unusual, but it is something that men do not want to talk about. While women will share their feelings with friends and family, men find it difficult to talk about feelings with their friends or even with the children.
Another father, Ray Paprocki, wrote in “Who Needs Dad?” in the AARP June/July 2012 magazine that after reading several books on fathering adult children, he sat down with each of his grown children and talked to them about his complicated emotions. “And I asked each one the same question: What do you expect of me now as a father?”
He was surprised by his daughter’s request for his wisdom. This both honored and intimidated him.
Other men are not only facing the children leaving the home at this time in their lives, but they are also seeing their career level off and they are spending more time with their wife without the children there. Suddenly they are faced with a woman that they no longer know. The divorce rate rises when children leave home, says Dr. Arthur Kovacks, a clinical psychologist in Santa Monica, CA. “Father’s Empty Nest” by Susan Yara in Forbes Magazine.
“Couples sometimes have to renegotiate the marriage,” says Dr. Kevin Kerber, a clinical psychiatrist and assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Michigan. “For example, they may have had a good pattern that was relatively stable when the kids were around–everything from who cooked and cleaned to sexual frequency.
“When faced with emotional pressure, it can be easy for men to turn to bad habits, like drinking. Needless to say, it’s not a good idea.”
The empty nest time should be a time for both parents to re-evaluate their lives, rediscover their marriage, consider all the possibilities now open to them now that they have less responsibility. If they need psychological assistance, this is not a sign that they have failed. It just means they need some help from someone who has some good advice.
For more information you might check out the books that Ray read or go to the following websites:
- “The Available Parent” by John Duffy
- “A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s” by Stephanie Coontz
- “Walking on Eggshells: Navigating the Delicate Relationship Between Adult Children and Parents” by Jane Isay
- Dads and the Empty Nest (grownandflown.com)
- Empty nest depression: I feel so lonely now my kids have left home(mirror.co.uk)
Stanton Lawson is the Co-Owner of Sequoia Senior Solutions. Sequoia’s mission is to ensure a better quality of life for their elderly clients and their families, by providing dependable and affordable in-home care. Sequoia’s focus is to keep you or your loved ones at home and avoid:
- Loss of friends and possessions
- Loss of independence and freedom
- Loss of spirit which is drained by the battles of daily living
Sequoia Senior Solutions, Inc. serves Napa, Sonoma, Marin, Solano, Mendocino, Lake Counties. The main office is located at191 Lynch Creek Way, Suite 102, Petaluma, CA 94954. Email firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: (707) 763-6600 Fax: (707) 763-6607, www.sequoiaseniorsolutions.com.