January 23, 2019 4:11 pm
Updated: January 23, 2019 8:32 pm

Are you an ’empty nester’? This Toronto couple lives life differently after sons moved out

WATCH ABOVE: Barbara and Alan Silverstein speak candidly about their experience as “empty nesters” now that their three sons are on their own. Susan Hay has the story.

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Six months ago Barbara and Alan Silverstein suddenly found themselves in an “empty nest.”

But for many years they were busy with their careers and raising their three sons, Leigh, Evan and Matthew – all of whom are in their 20s and 30s now.

“Matthew moved out six months ago and it was tough,” said Barbara.

Every fall, young adults head off to college or university while some may take a little longer to leave their parent’s home – yet they’re not the only ones starting a new chapter in life.

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“I think men and women experience it very differently,” said registered psychologist Karen Kaffko.

“There’s a certain amount of grief – joyful grief. You know you’re glad your child is autonomous and can move on in life, but then what? What do I do with myself now?”

“It’s interesting because we have to spend more time together,” said Barbara while referring to her husband Alan.

“When you have kids you get distracted from your marriage because life is so busy between sports and school. You don’t really think of yourselves apart from the whole family conglomeration and then when your children leave it’s like, ‘Oh, Hello.’”

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So how does one prepare for a child leaving home?

“When you notice your children, and most parents feel it, when they want to be away from mom and dad more than they want to be with you,” said Kaffko.

“But as you notice the autonomy and the independence of your child, you start thinking more about yourself.”

“I think there’s also another consideration, especially raising three boys. You have to stick together as parents otherwise you’re going to lose,” said Alan.

“Start dating each other again, start entertaining each other. Build a social support a network of friends, fall in love again,” said Kaffko.

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If your children are about to leave the “nest” and you’re already feeling the void, look at it this way.

“It’s not goodbye to your children, you’re still a family. It’s just a different kind of family and change,” said Kaffko.

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