Tag: Children

Surviving the Empty Nest Syndrome

The day has finally come when your child has moved out of the house.  There were probably points along the way when you never thought you’d make it here.  But you have.  Whether off to college, starting a family of their own, enlisting for service, or just ready to explore the world and all it has to offer – your child has now spread his wings and taken flight.  Walking through the house you are suddenly aware how quiet it is.  Perhaps a little too quiet. If you are experiencing feelings of depression, rejection, worry and anxiety for your children, and a loss of purpose you, like many, may be experiencing the Empty Nest Syndrome.
When a child leaves home for the first time it can often be a difficult time of transition for the parents.  This may be particularly true for full-time parents, those whose identity was based around being a parent,  individuals who find change to be stressful or are already undergoing other significant changes (retirement, menopause, etc.)  Parents who worked outside the home may begin questioning whether they invested enough time in their children.  Try to remember these feelings are normal and this is a time of transition.  You may be faced with trying to reconnect with your spouse since raising children is no longer your primary focus.  Additionally, you will have to establish a new kind of relationship with the child.  Communication may primarily take place electronically now which is a big shift from daily face to face interaction.  Perhaps you  also have an abundance of free time that you don’t know how to occupy.
The good news is this time of transition (and the feelings that go with it) doesn’t have to last forever.  There are a number of things you can do to help.  Find a hobby or an interest you enjoy that will occupy your time and help you to feel good about yourself.  Consider volunteering in your community.  Also, take advantage of the newly acquired time to reconnect with your partner.  Spontaneity may have been difficult with children in the house, so take the opportunity to go on dates or focus on intimacy.  If your relationship was strained before the kids left, use the time you now have to work on the relationship.  And of course, maintaining communication with your child (in whatever form circumstances will allow) can help reduce the Empty Nest feelings. If you feel you are stuck in this stage be sure to reach out to family and friends for support.
It’s also important to note that not all parents will go through this stage.  Don’t feel guilty if you find yourself in a happy place after your children leave the house.  Take pride in the job you’ve done raising your child and live confidently knowing you help gave them the wings to fly!

Photo Credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2703

Parenting: An Important Premarital Discussion

Deciding to get married is one of the biggest decisions a person can make.  The decision of whether or not to have children is arguably just as big (if not bigger).  That’s why it is vitally important to discuss the issue of parenting with your partner before saying, “I do.”  Do you want to have children?  Does your partner?  Is your answer non-negotiable?  It’s best to share your thoughts and feelings openly with your partner about the issue and allow him or her the same opportunity.
You may be thinking, “We both definitely want kids.  No issues here!”  While that may be true there are a number of other things to consider including in your discussion.  How many children do each of you want?  How would you like to space them?  Who will handle discipline in your house and how will it be done?  What about childcare?  Will you both be working or will one parent stay home with the child(ren)?  Do you (or your partner) plan to raise your kids in a particular faith?
Perhaps you or your partner already have kid(s) from a previous relationship.  Parenting is still an important topic to discuss.  Just because he already has children doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be open to having another one.  Don’t leave anything to assumption.  Also, when blending a family you’ll want to discuss who and how the discipline of the children will be handled.
Hopefully these questions are just a sample of an ongoing discussion you and your partner are already having.  You may not be exactly on the same page for every question.  The important thing is having the discussion and knowing where you each stand on things.  In some cases, you may not know how you feel about an issue until it comes up.  Or, as it does for many people, your feelings about an issue may change once you actually have children.  Building the foundation for a healthy dialogue now will allow you to continue to have healthy conversations as you experience the journey together.

Photo Credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2125

Managing the Holidays in a Blended Family

Blending a family can feel like putting pieces of a puzzle together.  Holidays-in-a-Blended-FamilySometimes it may feel like the pieces don’t fit.  This can be especially true at the holidays.  It can be stressful for children, young and old alike, to maneuver through the holiday season between multiple families.
Many find it helpful to communicate clearly with the children what the plans and expectations are.  Knowing the schedule ahead of time may allow the kids to prepare for what’s ahead.  With that said, they may need some flexibility.  Allowing the children the opportunity to openly share their feelings may help to reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, or even resentment.
During the dialogue the children may also express their hopes for the holidays.  This may include the desire to maintain some old traditions or try some new ones.  Some families have found that lending open ears and an open mind to these suggestions go a long way towards letting the children know that their needs and opinions are important, too.

Stressed Out Children

stressed out childrenChildren and teens, as much as adults, need ways to deal with sources of stress.
Their world is full of new and often stressful situations over which they have little or no control.
Even children growing up in the most secure and stable families must cope with situations that we never imagined.
Children are taught to conform to societal expectations by learning to control urges and impulses that are deemed unacceptable. As they mature, they are expected to give up childish behavior to manage increasingly challenging tasks.
Furthermore, children must learn to cope with peers who can be cruel and generally difficult.
Don’t forget that children have very little or no say in most all crucial aspects in their lives. They have no control of where they will live, their parent’s marital relationship, how they fit in with peers or even who will teach them in school.
Finally, children today have much of their time scheduled with multiple extracurricular activities while being expected to maintain honor roll status. All of these things can be stressors. Even when a child’s difficulties are “normal” for children of his or her age, parents must be careful not to dismiss or minimize their importance.

hope & restorationWhen the dark clouds of life roll in and settle over you, it’s important to have someone who can help you tap into your inner strength so that you can survive the storm.  At The Empowerment Group, that’s exactly what we do. We welcome you to explore the possibilities that are available to you. Restore a sense of balance and direction to your life. Whether through therapy, through Family Mediation, or through relationship counseling, we can help you find a path toward resolution and relief. Empowering your life! The Empowerment Group wants to help you bring balance, peace and happiness to your life even when the storms roll in and you feel all hope is gone. We can help:
  • Mediation
  • Therapy
  • Relationships
  • Pre-Marital Counseling



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