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BRENTWOOD, TN, May 02, 2011 /24-7PressRelease/ -- As graduation day approaches for high school and college students alike, parents must deal with the "empty nest syndrome" that accompanies a child leaving home. Empty Nest Syndrome has been recognized by the psychological community as feelings of depression, sadness, and/or grief experienced by parents and caregivers after children come of age and leave their childhood homes. Licensed family counselor and author Jay Fitter says the devastation to parents is very real, but can be dealt with by implementing a few proactive measures.
In his book "Respect your Children: A Practical Guide to Effective Parenting," Fitter lays out some specific techniques that help parents deal with the empty nest transition. "Try changing your perspective," says Fitter. "Look at your empty nest as a new opportunity or the next chapter of your life. See this as an opportunity to try something you've always been interested in learning, but too busy to start."
Fitter says parents who pursue their own lives apart from their children are more equipped to cope once the children leave. Having close friendships, prioritizing alone time with their mate, and getting involved in community groups are a few simple and effective ways to expand relationships beyond children. Fitter says that many parents make the mistake of living vicariously through their kids to escape the pressures of their own lives or unresolved personal issues.
"Being a good parent is not about sacrificing your life and dedicating 100% of your time to your children," says Fitter. "Instead, show your kids that you're a responsible adult, leading a productive life." Making these adjustments before the children leave, Fitter explains, will be critical to combating empty nest feelings.
Fitter says another critical component of this transitional period is reconnecting with one's spouse or mate. According to Fitter, many couples lose touch with each other during the parenting years even though they live in the same house. Developing common interests and activities, setting aside date nights, or offering simple validation to a mate by writing a note, picking a flower, giving a massage, etc. are all ways to keep the relationship fresh and connected. "You need this time together so that when your kids do leave, you don't find yourself married to a stranger," says Fitter. "Your kids are going to leave home and have their own families and you'll be continuing a relationship with your mate. It's important to treat them with respect as this will lead to a lifetime bond."
Fitter's book, "Respect Your Children: A Practical Guide to Effective Parenting," covers a wide-range of topics dealing with newborns, younger children, the teenage years and beyond. From communication techniques to discipline issues, Fitter offers skills, tools and strategies that help people become positive role models, and ultimately, better parents for their children. Fitter has been a licensed family therapist for nearly 20 years, basing his practice in southern California. He also conducts parenting workshops in various venues. He and his wife, Ann, have been married for 21 years and have two sons in college and one teenage daughter. For more information, visit www.respectyourchildren.com
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