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Abandoned Nest Syndrome is a moment in a family's life when the youngest child leaves home and the parents are left alone. In Russia, not all "nests" are empty. And several generations huddle in one apartment, just dreaming that one of them would move out. But today - about those lucky ones, in whose life there is not only psychological, but also territorial separation.
FOUR STEPS TO INDEPENDENCE
A person in his development goes through several stages of separation from his parents. All of them are associated with "crises of independence" and occur in a period of three years, seven years and adolescence. The end of this is the separation of a person at a young age. As soon as the parents sighed relatively calmly, having survived the adolescence of their child, in three or four years another difficult period of the "final" separation awaits them.
The word "final" is not in quotes by accident. Sometimes you come across the expression "complete separation from parents." So: this is fundamentally wrong. There can be no "complete" or "final" separation. A child, no matter how old he and his parents may be, cannot completely separate from them. Even in the case (or even more so in that case), when communication is broken at the level of "do not even call up". Even when the parents are not alive, the internal dialogue continues. Their figures are constants of the inner world and the family system. But still, in youth, a certain degree of separation is necessary, otherwise a person will lose the opportunity to create his own family and adapt in society.
This is an opportunity for a young person to support himself and solve everyday problems himself. In other words, if you earn enough to live separately, you can plan your expenses, you can provide yourself with clean clothes, you will remember to brush your teeth and comb your hair, and you can also peel potatoes - voila! You can separate from your parents. Of course, parents (especially mothers) will have big questions about these abilities, but the indicator of adulthood at this moment will be considered the fact that you will not doubt your abilities.
Independence of belief
Formation of attitudes, values, belief systems that may differ from parental ones. And above all, these are the values and attitudes associated with independence, the ability to make their own decisions - they are necessary for separation. During this period, the behavior of an adult child is somewhat provocative - he begins to demonstrate attitudes that do not coincide with those of his parents. Not that the parents didn't know about them at all. Just some time ago, a child could have been restrained by the idea of functional dependence ("while we feed and drink, you will live by our rules"). And now this idea stops working.
During this period, the relative importance of parental support decreases. A person, in order to create a couple in the future, begins to seek support and love from potential partners. Of course, it is difficult for parents to come to terms with this. They can "forgive" him for financial independence, as well as other beliefs (if they are not "extreme"). But as far as feelings are concerned, everything is sharper.
Involves getting rid of feelings of guilt if actions are contrary to the opinion of the parents. The child now does not consider himself a "traitor" if he makes a decision against which the parents insist. Parents are supposed to just accept the situation.
Separation from parents does not happen "suddenly." The child gradually forms all four types of independence, starting from the end of adolescence. This causes local conflicts, which may be associated with the fact that a son or daughter expresses his own views or tries to make his own decisions. Conflicts are necessary because the child trains conflict independence in them.
The increase in tension leads to the fact that emotional dependence on parents is weakened: the child shares his "problems" with peers and receives support and acceptance from them. The young man experiences more and more discomfort (while his parents may have an order of magnitude less discomfort), which leads to the intention to “fly out of the nest”.
For parents, this time is a chance to prepare for a new stage in communication with the child. Manipulative actions are frequent: an attempt to induce a feeling of guilt (“I feel so bad, and you!..”), humiliation (“you’re not worth anything yet, you haven’t made your mind”), “sweet life” (the child is shown by all means that he will be warm, satisfying, dry and comfortable with his parents). Overcoming these obstacles leads to a new stage. Or does not lead …
It is a "relaxation" of the situation, a kind of catharsis. The child announces that he will live separately. And - moves out. Mom is in tears, father is sullenly silent. The child has a hellish mixture of remnants of guilt and heady freedom. During this period, parents begin an important internal process - they critically rethink who they were parents. Of course, this is facilitated by the conflict atmosphere and numerous statements by the child that he was "raised incorrectly." But this is an important stage for parents, because rethinking is necessary in order to find a new format for communication with an adult child.
During this period, communication can be minimized, but this also makes sense. The new system needs to be reinforced, and closer communication can actualize guilt and emotional dependence. Both generations are going through a very important process of self-identification. Much of what they knew about themselves is no longer relevant. Now that the world is open to the child, you need to decide how to present yourself. In general, during the calm period, both children and parents have something to do.
Entering a new format of communication
The “separation stage” of children and parents is needed to build new personal boundaries. Parents transfer (or do children take away?) Rights and with them responsibility. Any imbalances in this process are quite sensitive and interfere with the child's socialization as an adult member of society. What the new format will be like depends on the entire path of child-adult relations, as well as on how the separation process went. Some of them have respect for each other, common joy from the appearance of a completely new generation, mutual assistance and "human" communication. Others have a residue of misunderstanding, rare phone calls with monosyllabic answers.
What you need to understand: the separation will still happen. It's like the birth of a child - it is impossible to delay. The process is natural, albeit muted by the problems of civilization. No need to resist, go with the stream!
CHILDREN PROHIBITED ENTRANCE
Not so long ago, a mother and daughter came to see me. The "girl" is 22 years old, and, according to her mother, the daughter does not want to leave the parent's nest. Parents are trying to push the child out of the house this way and that, but the adult girl actively resists. We begin to understand, and it turns out that at one point the parents decided that their daughter had grown up and it was time for her to live separately. This decision was made without taking into account the opinion of an adult, a daughter. And suddenly it turned out that the “child” at 22 has his own opinion and defends it. What to do in similar situations? In my opinion, it is worth trying to see a different person in your loved one, with your hopes and dreams, fears and anxieties. See an adult. And allow him to have his own opinion, which is different from the opinions of other people, including those closest to him. I would like to wish parents wisdom and patience,in order to "grow up next to".
consultant psychologist, member of the Professional Psychotherapeutic League
WHAT WILL HELP
We can say with confidence - the older generation is more difficult. A child “flown out” of the nest is captivated by freedom, the possibility of choice, everything is ahead of him. Parents, however, at this time may feel old, "unnecessary", have already fulfilled their main role. For a short time, this feeling is adaptive, but you cannot stagnate on it for a long time. What are the resources to get out of this situation?
… Defining other important roles:
a wife / husband, an experienced specialist, a good friend, a member of some social organizations or movements, a flamenco or hunting lover, and others. Parenting is a serious priority that most likely influenced other roles. And of course, you sometimes complained about the lack of time and energy for what you wanted to do. Now is the time (and this is the new identity!) To change priorities.
… Joint farm
For spouses as a couple, the moment of separation of the child is very difficult. There is a reassessment of values, and because of the "emptyness" of time, there is a feeling that there are no common interests, and together it is simply mortal boredom. Many people think about parting, but, fortunately, “goodness”, acquired over many years, saves from these thoughts. One of the possible directions may be renovation, re-equipment of a summer house or any other business that can be done together.
… Readiness for personal leisure
The growing up of the child gives the parents the opportunity to finally devote time to themselves - to travel, and just to have a rest. Time and money are freed up. It would be a mistake to "slip" money in excess of the child's need, especially during the period of separation. It is better to direct them to personal "amenities".
It will be nice if the grown-up child understands: it is not easy for parents. But the whole logic of the process, unfortunately, is against this. It takes a lot of effort to support parents in this situation. It is best if the child chooses this position: I am an adult, I make decisions myself and bear responsibility, but I continue to appreciate and love you. At the same time, the child must demonstrate to parents that he makes decisions independently (even contrary to their opinion) and successfully copes with responsibility. This position will help parents worry less.
All children - both older and younger - go through the separation process. It becomes most acute in relation to young and only children. But gradually the parents "get a taste", realizing that they have gained more than they have lost. They are freed from routine parenting, and many of them begin to enjoy what is happening.