Have you ever wondered why your mom or dad continues to yell at you? You’re doing better in school, you’re involved in after school activities and you’re taking on more responsibility at home.
Your parents may be suffering from Empty Nest Syndrome, which refers to feelings of depression, sadness and grief experienced by parents and caregivers after children go to college or move out.
So as a teenager, how do you navigate the minefield of your parents’ emotions and establish a better relationship during this time of transition? Try these 7 tips to make leaving home a little easier for you while avoiding the pitfals of empty nest syndrome.
Tips for Leaving Home While Minimizing Empty Nest Syndrome;
Tip #1 Establish Respect
Think about the reasons why you respect your parents and verbalize them. If you focus on the reasons why you respect them, it will loosen the defenses between you.
Tip #2 Active Listening
Parents are human, too. They have fears and hang-ups just like you. At times those fears and hang-ups come out during family discussions and arguments. During times of transition, like your leaving home, early effects of empty nest syndrome are already at play. In order to minimize the tension, really listen to what your parents say. Active listening means you’ll have to turn off the iPod, put down the cell phone and make eye contact.
Tip #3 Understanding More Deeply
Before you take action or respond to a comment ask, “If I understand you correctly…” This allows you to clearly understand your parent’s intentions and helps you clarify what they want you to do. This type of deep listening takes practice but will serve you well in all of your relationships.
Tip #4 Appreciation
Parents love it when they feel their teenager still appreciates them, especially during a time when you’re less dependent. If you are unsure of how parents would like for you to show appreciation, ask them.
Tip #5 Be Supportive
Just like you want support in the choices you make, your parents also need support.
• If your parents work, cook dinner or do extra chores.
• If you have younger siblings, baby-sit one night on the weekends.
• Suggest an outing with one or both of your parents to a favorite spot.
Tip #6 Be More Responsible
If you say you are going to do something, then do it. Your parents are watching to see whether you can follow through on a commitment. An increase in your level of responsibility decreases a parent’s anxiety level.
Tip #7 Increase your Independence
Having more independence to make your own choices will be the next chapter in your personal growth. It takes time to attain higher levels of independence because there are new skills you need to develop. Independence involves taking risks and understanding the choices you make won’t always turn out the way you plan. If you have the opportunity now to gain more independence, ask for it. Try declining the offer of allowance and getting a job, or wake yourself up in the morning. Maybe pick a night where you plan and cook the family meal.These tips will make your parents adjustment to an empty nest much easier. It will also make your return expected, welcomed and more enjoyable.
Keith Dent is a life coach and owner of Strive 2 Succeed Coaching Services. Dent is also the host of Teen Love Radio on Blog Talk Radio. For questions, contact him at [email protected]