Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bye Bye Birdie

Mama Bird is not happy to see her baby leave.
A child-free home is a source of depression for some parents. Such was not the case for several featured in an Associated Press article entitled, “Empty nest? Not all parents are sad about it.” The writer interviewed several parents who were ecstatic their children were leaving home. They shared plans of traveling overseas, starting new projects and just enjoying life without children. I’m surprised I didn’t see my parents’ names in the article.

Empty nest syndrome is a feeling of loneliness that affects parents when their children leave home. Supposedly it’s due to a diminished parenting role and influence in their children’s lives. According to the AP article, parents who are controlling and micromanage their children are more likely to experience the syndrome.

It seems fairly easy to spot parents likely to have the disorder. You’ve seen them before: the mother weeping profusely when her last child graduates from high school; the father requiring his only child to call home every day; or the parents who basically haven’t cut the apron strings from their children. The parents became so wrapped up in their children’s lives and neglected to establish their own identity.
I’ve never wondered if my parents would suffer from empty nest syndrome. They’ve been ready to get my brother and me out the house since we reached high school. People asked my mother if she was going to cry when I left for college. “For what?” or “Yeah, tears of joy,” she responded. The nest is not empty at the Robinson household just yet, but it has seemed like it since my brother was at least 16. My parents have been ripping and running with their own lives. That’s not to say they don’t care about us. Their parental support and guidance hasn’t ended. It simply evolved to reflect how both children have reached adulthood.

My future children will definitely be an important part of my life; however, I want them to leave the nest one day. Why try to keep them home forever? Enjoy life to the fullest while children are home and after they leave. Let the baby birds leave the nest. And wish them a bye, bye birdie with a smile.

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